Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Män som hatar kvinnor

This evening I saw the film Män som hatar kvinnor (Men who hate women), in Swedish with English subtitles. It is given the title The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English. You probably know the author Stieg Larsson died and left three manuscripts which then became international best sellers. I think all three have been filmed; this is the first.

It's a good film: 'He is a middle aged investigative journalist, she is a butch and enigmatic computer hacker, together they fight crime'. The two characters are interesting and well acted and the artistic production is high class. It is not unlike the Swedish version of Wallander in visual style. It's a high quality middlebrow murder mystery. It's a pretty long film and I wasn't bored for a moment.

Warning: this film includes one scene of bad sexual violence against a woman. It's not endorsed or forgiven within the story - if you see what I mean, without giving anything away - but it could be problematic to any viewer. I personally held my hand up between my face and the screen so I couldn't see it (and that means I don't have a clue if it was made out to be sexy at all, even obliquely). I think it is problematic to show something like that, but while this scene is not central to the main plot, it does dramatise the emotional logic of the film, as signified by its title. I felt I had to include this much above the cut.

The character of the girl hacker was great. She is aggressive, determined, and intelligent. I didn't agree with the decision the author made to have her sleep with the ageing journo. The male actor is attractive - at least to me, a similarly ancient being - so it was pleasant enough to watch it, but it was also a bit tiresome. I was just enjoying the fact that they weren't sleeping together when they did.

The emotional logic of the story, which is played out in several ways during the film, goes like this: bad man abuses women, woman gets mediaeval on his ass, and a good man deprecates the whole violent cycle. I am being glib, but that is the basic plot machinery. Now, personally, I think this is better than the traditional plot 'woman takes revenge, good man regretfully brings her to justice' (probably after some romantic involvement). It seems designed however to let your middle class viewer experience it all three ways while identifying with the good man, and thus remaining innocent of the violent cycle. I personally identified more with the vengeful women, and quite enjoyed it.
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