March 28th, 2010

Interesting words

"It is as good a way as any of solving the problem of existence to approach near enough to the things that have appeared to us from a distance to be beautiful and mysterious, to be able to satisfy ourselves that they have neither mystery nor beauty."
Marcel Proust

Violence to what degree?

I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo last night and enjoyed it immensely. The Egyptian was filled to the brim, and an attendant said that almost everyone seeing the movie has read the book. The book came vividly back in my mind, as the Swedish setting and cast recreated it. Absolutely first-rate. I loved the scenery and the performances and the language. (My Sweden-born Grandmother said that when she was a girl (around 1885) the farmers got all the immigrant neighbors together for a contest about their languages, and Swedish won as the most beautiful of them all!)

Anyway, the book has a lot of literary violence. The movie puts it right in front of your face. There are almost unbearable scenes, and the usual directorial shyness of body and action were absent. There is the most horrific rape scene (of Lizbeth) and then an equally horrible rape scene of her rapist (by Lizbeth). When she got her revenge on the terrible man, the audience (largely older, obviously readers and intelligent)cheered. It puts me in a dilemma. I don't know if I can recommend this movie to people who don't want the invasive cost of such imagery in their minds. (My wife would HATE seeing stuff like this.) On the other hand, this is one of the few movies that I have seen that show how truly horrible such violence is, that doesn't blink its eyes or hide behind a potted plant. The power of the movie is largely connected to the horrific events it depicts. (The murderer is a sadist of the worst degree.) So coyness would violate the essence of the story.

Well, I was totally engaged in this movie. If you know you can bear it, or if you have read the fine novel, take a chance. Don't go, if personal violence and cruelty are too hard for you to watch. I have Larsson's second book right next to my bed, waiting for the summer. The Girl Who Played With Fire.