MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Sony Pictures
Directed by David Fincher. Starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara.
Whatever you might think about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the world has decided that they really like Swedish writer Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of books featuring Lisbeth Salander (Mara). The books have sold millions of copies and have been made into a popular and well-loved series of Swedish films. Since most English-speaking filmgoers avoid subtitled foreign films, it was only natural that an English-language version would be made. Stylish American director David Fincher directs this version with a good screenplay by Steven Zaillian. Rooney Mara’s interpretation of Lisbeth holds her own alongside of the terrific characterization by Noomi Rapace in the Swedish films.
Lisbeth is the antisocial, punkish, freelance computer hacker who assists journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) in solving the mystery of a young woman who disappeared from her family’s island estate back in the early 1960s. While the storyline is in fairly conventional mystery mode, the novels were written to make a statement about the exploitation and violence of women. (Author Larsson was also an investigative reporter in Sweden; the original Swedish title of the first book was Men Who Hate Women). As many have observed, the books and films are filled with exploitative scenes in which women are subjected to rape and torture. So, while The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a well-made and faithful adaptation of the novel, I cannot say that it is a particularly enjoyable experience. Fincher is so effective with the bleak material of the novel that it was hard to enjoy this thriller. The violence, mayhem, murder, torture and rape that figure into the storyline are handled in a deliberately upsetting fashion. But Lisbeth Salander is nevertheless a compelling character who finds a way to overcome all of her foes. Justice will be served. Fans of the books should be satisfied with this movie (filmed in Sweden with many of the same locales as the earlier film).
If anyone still doubts that we are living in a Post-Christian culture, you might want to ponder the phenomenon of this mystery series. Fifty years ago such a dark worldview would have been considered pornographic violence. Now this is the book thousands of people get as a Christmas present. The church has much work to do, not only in leading people to spiritual life in Jesus Christ, but in working to usher in the Kingdom through compassionate acts of justice and mercy. Let the light shine in the darkness.
Two halos: This is a bleak film, but a well-made adaptation of a popular book series.
Five pitchforks: Swearing, nudity, torture, rape, torture, deception, adultery and sexual promiscuity..
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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