Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Girl Who Is Not Safe for Work

"Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun."

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006) by Stieg Larsson

Last year, I watched and reviewed the highly-acclaimed Swedish mystery thriller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which propelled me to read the original novel it was adapted from and check out the two film sequels - none of which, I'm sad to report, are as impressive as the first movie.

The American adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is expected to meet the world at the end of this year in December with Rooney Mara playing the brilliant but troubling Lisbeth Salander, and Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist (which was excellent because Michael Nyqvist, the original Swedish actor, does look like a poor man's Daniel Craig).

In an older interview, director David Fincher showed a topless picture of Rooney Mara in costume and expressed his wish to use it in the film's poster but he was quite sure he wouldn't be allowed to because the media watchdogs are such anal Puritans who think that tits will destroy the world. Lucky for us, it seems he got his wish after all and the official uncensored theatrical poster for Fincher's film just debuted this week.

Uncensored David Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Poster
My first thought was, "That could have been Ellen Page. Damn."

What do you think of it? Considering that one of the main themes of the original film and book is the exploitation of women by hateful men, does the use of Mara's sex appeal to market the film strike you as hypocritical?

This is one of my most anticipated films of the year. If it's even half as graphic as the original, I wouldn't see it in a cinema. I can't trust trust the Malaysian censors to be matured about these things at all.

The guy with no tattoos,
k0k s3n w4i


Michelle Chin said...

well, it depends on how we decipher the poster.

nicoletta said...

I think the poster capitalises on the sexual fetishes present in the book / film. I'd say it does neglect the main theme a little - but on the other hand it certainly accentuates Lisbeth Salander's highly sexual and sexualised character, and she is the titular character after all.

I can't wait for this film! But first, I've got to watch the swedish versions of the last two films (and read the books as well).

tendol said...

yes, i think the need to have the topless actress in the poster does seem hypocritical of the director, most certainly a scheme to pull in more viewers and on the superficial side, to tie in with the sexuality themes in the movie.

she is bi-sexual, and yes, she does get assaulted by a human pig in the movie, but she sleeps with the guy investigator on her own accord so this makes me wonder why the poster makes her look like his victim, as if he is controlling her sexually. ah well...

nissy said...

Malaysia even censored the Mystique appearance in 'nude' on the recent movie. How do you expect this to go through Malaysian censorship. Haha...

c3rs3i said...

Read the books, not watched the movies.

Not a fan of the poster
1. It's not called 'the half naked girl with bad eye makeup and multiple, some erotic, piercings' now is it?
2. His hold of her strikes me as more threatening than protective which I assume was intended or should be anyway.
3. The book led me to imagine her more waiflike. Mara does not fit my expectations as she is too developed as a woman and toned.
4. The catch-phrase is certainly catchy but not accurate. At worst she is vengeful but that's a world of motivation away from evil.
5. Considering the book's attempt to raise awareness of the sexual abuse of women, I find her almost-full-frontal-nudity highly inappropriate as it can and will be misconstrued to significantly downplay the man's role in her assault by shifting it to her. I won't at all be surprised to hear idiots saying she deserved to be raped or was 'asking for it'.
6. It is a cool poster, yes, but unless the movie is quite different to the book, or the poster quite different to the movie to the book, it is my conclusion, based on this poster alone that accurate representation has been sacrificed at the altar of the American Marketing Gods for more evocative visual and verbal imagery. It remains to be seen from the movie whether this severe abuse of artistic license can be forgiven although I suspect I will find it very hard to overlook 5. for it's crime against feminism.

Vin Tsen Gan said...

My my, titties can destroy the world? It's about time I do something to prevent this.

Anyhoos, the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was like rushing it's way through the entire show. It's impressive, but wasn't what I had in mind when I watched it after reading the novel.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Michelle Chin: and how would you?

nicoletta: i won't say she's highly sexual. she seems to suck the sexiness out of every sex scene she's in - both in the films and in the books. anyway, i'd give the latter two films a pass. really not worth the time, in my opinion.

tendol: on one hand, i think it's cool that such a poster is even allowed to exist for a mainstream hollywood film. on the other, the toplessness appears to be entirely gratuitous. i have great respect for david fincher as a director (i loved se7en, zodiac and the social network), so... i guess i should give him the benefit of the doubt?

nissy: they did?! i must confess i didn't notice.

c3rs3i: yes, the book did describe her as being child-like in appearance - hence my support for ellen page in the role. while i certainly do not think lisbeth salander as being evil, i think her moral code is up for interpretation. torture and murder can hardly be considered virtuous actions. i also wouldn't call this poster a "crime against feminism" (but what does a man like me know?). i think it contradicts the film's message at worst.

Vin Tsen Gan: i saw the film first, so that might have coloured my impression of the book - but i thought the film has a better momentum to it. i also think that the book is a very poor read if you already know the story. unlike a lot of other books i can name, it's not a work of literature anyone would want to revisit.