OK, let’s get one thing straight: I’m a big chicken, and being in a large dark room doesn’t help. I love the movies, but I don’t do blood and gore, and I don’t like things to jump out at me from the screen and rattle my popcorn. I can handle the snakes in “True Grit,” but there are different rules for westerns. Everyone knows that.
So I had some trepidation about “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Imagine my surprise. It was more mystery and action thriller than it was a gory mess, for which I was grateful. Overall, it was all right, but it was more violent than it needed to be, and it had far more sex than was needed. There are lots of ways to get the point across, but subtlety isn’t a high priority here.
Rooney Mara works very hard for her Oscar nomination, playing a woman who has appointed herself judge, jury, executioner and one-woman CSI unit. Oh, and she’s seriously messed up. It’s a powerful combination. Daniel Craig is solid as always, playing opposite Mara, and Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard have a lot of fun in an otherwise intense drama. It all works, though even I – known for being a little dense about these things – guessed where it was going fairly early on.
I mention violence, and I mention sex, so I must mention this, too: I share the concern raised by others of a rape being shown so explicitly onscreen. Is this really necessary? I am no prude, but I have to underline the basic point: Unless it’s moving the story along, it’s just gratuitous. There are a hundred less graphic ways to get the idea across. I think this one crosses that line a couple of times. Needless to say, if you go, leave the kids at home.