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Laissez bronzer les cadavres (2017)
Psychosexual Surrealism Dressed up like a Cowboy
The concept is simple: a gang of criminals stay at the isolated hideaway of an eccentric artist and her lover after stealing 250 kilos of gold. Shenanigans ensue. And they ensue quite strangely.
This is a psychosexual surrealist film disguised as a spaghetti western. Many are judging this strictly in its capacity as a spaghetti western, claiming that the strange, surreal scenes were merely a waste of time. If anything, the opposite is true. The power dynamics, back-stabbing, and fights for survival are secondary to this film's main goal, which seems to be as follows: to show (as stylishly and creatively as possible) these characters' darkest impulses and fantasies. Very similar to their last work, The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears, Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani place equal importance upon what's going on in the "reality" of the film and what's going on inside the characters' heads. One character's overwhelming and confounding sexual fantasy might be given just as much dramatic weight and screen-time as another character shifting their allegiance or being killed, despite the fact that one of these scenes makes sense in the context of the plot and the other does not. This feels less like watching a spaghetti western than it does like watching a nightmarish wet dream of someone who had seen a spaghetti western the night before.
The nature of this film makes it difficult to give it a rating. The mish-mosh of high-brow and low-brow elements makes it very hard to compare to any other films. Yes, people always compare this directing duo to Argento, but their obsessive need to explore the subconscious fantasies of their characters is vastly different than any of Argento's work. Their films take place maybe 80% in the characters' heads whereas Argento's films usually take place firmly in reality (albeit, a strange, uniquely lit reality). All in all, I would give it an 8/10, and that rating is hard-earned through ingenuity alone. The characters can barely be called archetypes, there's no one to sympathize with, you barely know anything about any of the characters save for the most banal backstories, the plot isn't given much attention, and there seem to be major moments that are oddly glossed over. Instead of focusing on all these elements that would make a movie "good" in a traditional sense, Cattet and Forzani dive deep into a sexual dreamland of violence and fantasy and do so with constant and I mean CONSTANT creativity.
Almost every single scene is filmed in a way that feels enchantingly fresh. Since it pulls heavily from the spaghetti western genre (a genre that I adore, but has been done into the ground, then spoofed into the ground, then tributed into the ground), there are scene types that we've all watched a thousand times before. Predictable moments that you'd expect to be filmed in a cookie cutter fashion. Instead, each scene is treated like a feverish, experimental short film designed to get the general gist of plot details across, but, much more importantly, utterly enrapture its audience with shockingly gorgeous cinematography, mind-bending editing, and sound design that will have you weeping with joy, all to communicate a sense of otherworldly, darkly violent sexual tension. Admittedly, for every experimental scene that works, there's one that doesn't, but because of the sheer quantity of risks this film is willing to take, the missteps are more than forgivable. I found myself thinking of Hausu while watching it, another film where at one moment I would say to myself, "Why would they film it like this...?" and in the next, "I don't know. But I love it." This is the result of two filmmakers having unabashed fun with their medium and I personally found their subversive glee to be infectious. If you want to see a traditional, Oscar-ready thriller...avoid this one. But if you want to see a whacky fun-house of experimental style, go get your ticket now.
Inherent Vice (2014)
Sun, Sand, and Psychedelia in Inherent Vice
Larry "Doc" Sportello, an unorthodox private-eye (Joaquin Phoenix) smokes a joint in his California shore-house--the waves on one side, and a whole mess of bad vibes on the other. Then in walks his ex-old lady, Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston), brining some of those bad vibes with her. She's with a married man now, Mickey Wolfmann, and his wife wants her help to make off with his money and get him sent to a loony-bin. Through a cloud of marijuana smoke, Doc barely manages to mumble, "I think I've heard of that happening once or twice." Agreed, Doc, that does seem pretty predictable. But then Wolfmann disappears and so does Shasta and the body count begins to climb. What follows is one of the most unique and unexpected trips of 2014. Inherent Vice throws the audience into the year 1970. Everyone wants to just smoke a joint and love each other, but they can't seem to stop the wave of paranoia that's overtaking them. As Doc delves deeper into the seemingly infinite mystery that unravels, neither he nor the audience is ever sure who to trust. One of these beautifully morally ambiguous characters is Lt. Det. Christian F. "Bigfoot" Bjornsen (Josh Brolin), who gets plenty of screen-time and spends most of it eating frozen bananas and railing against hippies. Brolin and Phoenix's on-screen chemistry is off the charts, and the complicated relationship between their characters is explored through scenes of extreme hilarity. At the same time that I was questioning Bigfoot's moral compass and how dedicated he really is to justice, I was watching the screen through a filter of tears from laughter.
Many have been calling Inherent Vice a combination of Chinatown and The Big Lebowski, and that's a pretty accurate description. It blends the beautiful look and complicated plot of neo-noir films with an almost surreal kind of stoner-comedy and it meshes perfectly. It also pulls from retro-noir films like Sunset Blvd. and utilizes a large deal of narration. Noir films usually blend exposition with character development in their narration--The male protagonist narrates and his beautifully crafted sentences highlight how tough he is and how fed up with everything he's become--but Inherent Vice takes a different route entirely. Sortilège (Joanna Newsom) narrates and exposition comes packaged together with an almost sentimental poetry that adds a layer to the loving, yet distrustful view of the Californian landscape. Sortilège is a highly mysterious character that takes a lot of the narration verbatim from the novel by Thomas Pynchon that this film is based on. She's a seemingly omniscient, psychedelic chick who navigates the screen on a physical plane, but also enters and leaves Doc's mind through voice-over when she sees fit.
Paul Thomas Anderson directs and this is another movie to add to his seemingly air-tight repertoire (Boogie Nights, There Will be Blood, Magnolia). He lets the actors navigate the screen with minimum editing and allows entire dialogue scenes happen in one take. This is a risky move-- cutting is usually used to increase humor or add suspense, but somehow this movie manages without it. I can't stress enough how humorous Doc's interactions with other characters are. And the more tense scenes thrust Doc into danger with little to no warning and effectively get the heart racing.
I'm sure a lot of people will complain about the complexity of the plot in this one. As Doc makes his way through a haze of pot smoke, conspiracies, and government corruption more and more names are dropped and exactly what's going and on and who's pulling the strings becomes almost impossible to make out upon first viewing. This is because plot takes the backseat to the film's powerful entertainment value and its themes. When I watched it for the first time, I honestly didn't know what was happening after the half-way point, but I barely had time to think about it because I was so engrossed by the little episodes that the movie presents. One of my favorite scenes features Doc and Shasta in a flashback as they run through the rain with Neil Young's "Journey Through the Past" playing in the background. The music takes priority over the dialogue and I wanted to weep for this beautiful moment that was now lost in the "city dump" of Doc's memory. It cuts to Doc navigating the same area in present day and the vacant lot that him and Shasta had been running freely through has now been occupied by a building shaped like a Golden Fang--a symbol of the criminal organization that plagues the characters throughout their journeys.
And that, to me, is what the movie is all about. The simplicity of blissful ignorance being slowly replaced with growing knowledge of the darker side of the American dream. 1970 is the perfect year for this drama to unfold--characters can't stop talking about Charles Manson, and distrust of police is just beginning to evolve. Something wicked has been lying in wait and the movie takes place in that small window where optimism began to shrink back in the American mind and people began ignoring hitchhikers and locking their doors. The insane complexity of the plot only serves to highlight this more--great evil is operating under the surface, but Doc can never be totally sure how much of it is just in his head, or who is pulling the levers. Or maybe everyone's got a lever except for him. It's tough to tell when you're lightin' up a J and just trying to help somebody out.
Evil Dead (2013)
As Impressive as it is Disgusting
The plot very simply centers around a group of friends who isolate themselves in a cabin in the woods in order to help one of them quite heroin cold turkey. When one of them finds an ancient book of evil and reads a few passages, though, things turn ugly. Real ugly. Demon ugly. They start getting possessed and turning on one another. General horror ensues.
Formulaic, yes, but wow--what a movie. This reboot takes what was slightly amusing about the original and makes it downright terrifying. It's semi-predictable and the guy who plays one of the main characters, David, is freaking terrible, but it's a fast, intense ride from start to finish that's debatabely one of the best horrors of the decade.
I'm tempted to call this movie a "guilty pleasure," but no--I stand by this movie and feel no guilt for endorsing it. Yes, the gore is absolutely appalling and stomach-churning, and yes it was admittedly predictable, but this movie holds SO much merit.
Let's start with Jane Levy playing Mia. She delivers the best performance in a horror movie like this in recent memory, coming close to Marilyn Burns in "Texas Chain Saw Massacre." She absolutely nails it. And she came out of freaking nowhere. This is her third movie and she's just incredible. Now this isn't an impressive monologue sort of acting job or a wide range of emotions kind of thing--a horror movie like this is almost purely physical acting. She sprints, dives, crawls, and stabs her way across the screen and she does it with appropriately unrepressed terror. And that terror is infectious, transferring right through the screen into the audience.
Next, the effects. Most of the time these days, a movie monster ends up being a CGI blob whirring across the screen (i.e. "Mama"). I thought the days of practical effects were over, especially in the horror genre, but then I saw this. It only uses CGI to touch up scenes and remove cables and such and it totally pays off. I don't usually like buckets of blood in horror movies, and while I still stand by psychological horror more than slashers, this level of shock deserves some kind of attention. It is so in-your-face disgusting because, like fight scenes in "The Raid," it is filmed with the utmost clarity and the actors know how to respond to it because it's actually in front of them instead of being added in post. If you can manage to keep your eyes on the screen while a girl cuts her tongue in half with a box-cutter, you'll see what I mean. Yeah, it's freaking disgusting and borderline sadistic, but this is old school, passionate horror.
Next, Mia's storyline is way more complex than it needed to be and that's totally OK with me. You could legitimately view this entire movie as an alle(gore)ical tale for battling drug addiction. This whole layer of the movie is totally unnecessary, but, if you're into that kind of thing, much appreciated.
Lastly--I can not fathom the amount of fans of the original who disliked this movie. A lot of the complaints I'm seeing is that the acting is bad, the violence is sadistic, and Ash isn't in it anymore. First off, the acting in the original is absolutely awful--and I understand that it's supposed to be a joke for the most part, but trashing the new one for that is hypocritical. Now the violence--the only reason the original wasn't more violent is because they didn't have the budget to make it so. The original contains a possessed woman being hacked into like seven pieces and then flopping around and the only reason it happens off screen, is because the effects would have been too complicated for them to show on screen. If anything, the reboot is equally as sadistic, but more fully realized. And Ash. He was a man of his times, he really was. If they tried to put a character like him into a modern movie, it never would have worked. A man's man, funny 70s action hero thrust into a horror movie. Yes, it was funny, but why try to recreate it? He had his time and trying to rehash that would have only resulted in more fan-boys whining that they didn't get it right.
The Babadook (2014)
Don't Let It In!!
In my opinion, horror films have taken a serious dive in quality in the last couple of decades. And the ones that are good don't do much to forward the genre, they simply imitate films of the 70s very well (i.e., "The Conjuring"--which, don't get me wrong, I love, but I'm just saying the style isn't original at all). "The Babadook" is different. Essie Davis plays Amelia, a woman struggling with the absence of her husband, who was killed in a car accident. Now she's left alone to raise her troubled son, Samuel. When Samuel finds an ominous children's book titled "Mr. Babadook," they begin to be stalked by a supernatural force. Not exactly a hugely original concept, but the terror it delivers feels totally fresh and Essie Davis' performance is Oscar worthy--her character is whipped back and forth from grief, anger, insanity, hopelessness and it's terrifying to watch. Noah Wiseman also does a very good job of playing her son, which is an equally challenging role, especially for a boy so young.
For me, most of the best horror films take something that is found commonly scary--like isolation, death, or loss of sanity--and it portrays it in an uncommon way. And that is what the Babadook does. He's this terrifying, supernatural force that represents so much to both Amelia and Samuel and he's made visible to them, taking the fears they hold in the back of their minds and putting them in front of both of them in an aggressive, physical form. There's plenty of symbolism throughout the movie, but it's pretty hard to think about while watching it since you'll be too busy being scared out of your wits. If you're a horror fan, this one is for you.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
Big Hero 6 (Out of 10)
This new Disney/Marvel movie centers around a 14 year old boy genius named Hiro (think Jimmy Neutron) who sets out on a mission to track down a man who stole one of his inventions and deeply hurt him in the process. He's accompanied by a group of zany "nerdy" friends and a rather large, cute inflatable robot named Baymax, and the story largely focuses on their relationship. They become more like superheroes as they strive toward their goal. You may be thinking, "this sounds familiar" and that's because it is. This movie covers territory that's already been treaded on countless times in recent years (in fact, it bore many similarities even to "Guardians of The Galaxy," only this time for kids) and it really adds nothing new to the formula.
And that doesn't make a movie inherently bad. There are countless formulaic movies that are still extremely enjoyable and touching, but this one simply misses the mark. Where this movie really went wrong is how it tried to balance its tougher, more saddening themes, with light-hearted entertainment. A good example of a movie that did this right is "Up," which takes segments to solely deal with hard moments and let the audience be sad, and then it provides lovable characters and funny dialogue to make them smile later on. "Big Hero 6" tries to soften the blow of the tough moments by throwing in some silly humor here and there, which ends up cheapening the effects of both. It's never funny long enough to be considered entertaining escapism, and it's never serious long enough to actually say anything new about its darker themes (death, grieving, recovery--I know, some heavy stuff). It just sits in this awkward middle ground. And the plot, action, and characters are not entertaining enough on their own to sustain it, either. It's the typical learning to work together to conquer plot missions as well as emotional battles--Disney and other studios have been doing it for years and there's just nothing even remotely fresh about anything on screen.
I know I'll be stepping on a few toes with this review. I don't think the movie is "trash" as another reviewer suggested, I just think it's nothing new and nothing interesting. There are still some amusing sequences, though (Baymax provides pretty consistent chuckles) and I didn't outright hate the movie. It just wasn't for me. If you're a parent of a hyped-up Disney fiend, then sitting through this won't be that bad and you'll even find yourself chuckling from time to time, but unless you're being forced to see it or really have nothing else to do, then I would stay home--maybe pop in "Wall-E" or "Up" or "Tangled" if you're really craving some modern Disney. Not terrible, but simply not worth the time or money.
High-Octane Entertainment and Thought Provoking; Fantastic Movie
I was lucky enough to see an early screening of this movie in Boston that Jake Gyllenhaal made a brief appearance at to introduce it. I got some pictures with Jake (he's a really cool guy in person) and then sat back for what I expected to be a simple, entertaining movie and was very pleasantly surprised by a film that delivered so much more.
Simply based on entertainment value, the movie is fantastic. The acting across the board is fantastic. Jake Gyllenhaal's performance is like Jack Nicholson's in "The Shining"--so terrifying that it puts a grin on your face. The tension is built masterfully and it explodes onto screen in the form of car-chases, shootouts, and heart-pounding, breath-holding scenes of lurking danger. And visually it's pleasing as well. The city streets of LA look fantastic at night, especially when they're scattered with fiery wrecks, and the eerie glow that comes from the protagonist's camera-mounted light makes some of the more gruesome scenes really shine.
All of this I expected. What surprised me was its ability as a satire. GYllenhaal's character basically embodies the sociopathic tendencies of modern news production, so as the movie delves more and more into his disturbingly twisted mind it also establishes a very interesting social commentary. It's highly entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time and isn't that what we go to the movies to see? When this film hits wide release, I hope it gets the success that it deserves.
Gone Girl (2014)
You Won't Soon Forget "Gone Girl"
At first glance this might look like just another who-dun-it mystery thriller with a star-studded cast, but this film stands out proudly from the rest in that typically clichéd genre. The mystery unravels slowly and meticulously, forcing the audience to spend time with characters that they can rarely be sure of. Sympathies shift uneasily from one character to another and from time to time, everyone on-screen seems repulsive, but it's impossible to look away.
It plays out like Hitchcock's "Psycho" or Clouzot's "Diabolique." Like these two films, it starts with a catchy little plot that lets you ease into the world of the film as you prepare to watch a fun little mystery, but then it plunges into depths that you never could have expected. The first hour could have been pulled out into a full-length movie, but it's not content to stop there--it drags its audience into some dark, twisted places, but it never stops being completely immersive and exciting. It pulls all of that off through some subtly beautiful cinematography (as can be expected from Fincher and Jeff Cronenweth, the cinematographer), and very quiet, but intense performances. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike both do an incredible job at giving the audience brief glimpses at powerful, but buried emotions.
Maybe not the best date movie ever made, but most certainly one of the most effective mysteries of the last few years--"Gone Girl" delivers like you can't believe. My advice is to stop reading reviews and just go experience it for yourself.
Blood Simple (1984)
A Fantastic Start for the Coens.
The Coen brothers' debut; a neo-noir, slightly stylized, low budget crime film. What's not to love? This movie is easily comparable to movies like "The Raid: Redemption" and "Reservoir Dogs." Not in terms of content or style, but in terms of directorial mindset--when a director has a lot to prove, a desperately low budget, and a handful of good actors, truly amazing things can happen. This movie doesn't waste a second, and it packs in a complex character-interaction based plot, fantastic dialogue, beautiful transitions and cinematography, and tension that's on par with Hitchcock all into a running time that's barley over 90 minutes. The movie doesn't meander once, and I think the Coen's have the desperation of a low budget to thank for that. They only had $2 million and they made sure all of it went to good use. Every character in this movie is at once detestable and wholly likable, and the Coens achieve this mostly by presenting the characters' terrible acts and then glossing over them with their now iconic dark, quirky humor. A witty joke can make a murderer seem like someone you'd want to be friends with. Really it's all about these characters that the Coens have created and the way they interpret one-another, themselves, and the situations they find themselves in. The way it unfolds is poetic. Not only one of my favorite neo-noirs (bested only by "Blade Runner," "Chinatown," and "Drive), but this is one of my favorite film noirs in general. Just go watch it. You won't be disappointed.
Under the Skin (2013)
Quiet, unsettling, and totally effective
Some will complain that this movie is too confusing or "pointless," but Jonathan Glazer definitely had various themes and messages interwoven and I'm going to use my review space to try to identify some of those using part summary and part analysis.
What I believe this movie to really be about is an alien life-form that first only understands lust and then slowly begins to explore other human emotions. Let's start at the beginning. She's picked up by the strange man on a motorcycle and placed in a van. She then instantly goes around seducing these men and leading them to their doom in the "harvesting pool" or whatever you would like to call it. This is simply her job. It's just business. She uses lust as the means to accomplish this task because it's the only human feeling she understands.
Another important small scene is when the man drowns trying to save his wife and they leave their baby alone on the shore while the alien watches from afar. Since she practically embodies lust itself at this point in the story, this could be a commentary on how lust does nothing to keep a bond between two people. It's possible that the husband embodied love--sacrificing himself to attempt to save his wife, while lust (the alien) sat back on shore, not involved in any way. Lust watches as the family is torn apart and the child is left alone. Now that part is highly subjective, so I'm not sure about it, but that's my personal take.
Her seductions and harvestings continue until she meets the man with the mutated face. She leads him into the pool just like all the others, but then something changes. I believe that her time spent alone in her home looking into the mirror marks the turning point--the most important part in the story. You see prior to this, she had begun to converse with the sad, lonely man and he really had no expectations of sex at the time. He was being genuine to her and slowly opening up. Her responses to him seem much more human than the previous victims because she's beginning to explore other emotions. When she looks into the mirror, she searches her own eyes for quite some time. She reflects on the man's sad story and maybe how it made her feel. This is reinforced by her seeing the fly trapped against the window, which reflects the mutated man and how he is trapped in the harvesting pool. She releases him because she pities him and then she leaves her "job" and explores the streets on her own. She runs into trouble and can't quite fully understand human emotion, though. She sits alone in a restaurant full of happy people, merrily eating delicious desserts, but she can't seem to join them. She finds the cake confusing and disgusting and spits it out. The cake could represent society, togetherness, or a feeling of belonging. Then she begins to get to know the man who helps her on the bus and he's the first person to treat her genuinely kindly and he takes an interest in her well being. Things seem to be going well for quite a while, but the tone shifts again when they attempt intercourse. Previously she understood lust, but it's clear that she doesn't understand the actual act of sex. It confuses and disturbs her, similar to the cake incident, and she leaves the apartment and heads into the woods to think things over. She's perpetually unhappy because she longs for human emotion and maybe even to bond with others, but she doesn't fully understand her own feelings and this leaves her constantly confused.
Before we get to the end, I would like to jump back a bit. There is a scene where the man on the motorcycle inspects her thoroughly in a completely non-sexual manner. He just examines her closely. This leads me to believe that, without harvesting humans constantly, she will begin to deteriorate. This is supported by the fact that her skin easily tears towards the end after she has gone quite awhile without leading a man into the pool. All this leads me to believe that she actually went into those woods to die. She wanted to be by herself, hide from the man on the motorcycle, and simply think about her existence and the human emotions she had been feeling in her last moments. However, she is not permitted to do this.
The tables turn. The lumber worker stalks her and attempts to rape her in the forest. In the beginning, she had practically weaponized lust and was using it to victimize men, but now a man is overtaken by lust and is making her his victim. You see, even when she just wants to be away from it all in total solitude, she can't escape lust. It hunts her constantly. And when her skin tears and the lumber worker realizes she is in fact not a human he can rape, but some kind of an alien creature, he burns her to death. In her last moments, her alien eyes stare into her human ones as she still struggles to understand the meaning of her human emotions.
As far as the quality of the movie, it was quite well executed. It actually reminded me of Bergman more than it did of Kubrick and it threw off similar vibes as "Persona." It isn't perfect--some of the early shots in the van are a little awkward, and I felt that there may have been over-exemplification with her seduction of the men on the streets, but those are the only main flaws. Overall, an incredible film that says so much through characters that talk so little. The acting is done almost solely through faces and Johansson does an incredible job-- probably her best performance yet.
Fanny och Alexander (1982)
A Timeless Journey Through Life
Another masterpiece by Ingmar Bergman. After watching the 5 hour cut, I'm most impressed by Ingmar Bergman's seemingly infinite grasp of the human condition. The dialogue and scenes play out not only as imitations of real life, but artful replications. This is life viewed through an artistic lens. It explores most of what a person will go through in their lifetime--childhood, adulthood, old age, death, sex, sorrow, joy, belonging, alienation, isolation, confusion, oppression, freedom, family, art, business, religion and everything in between. It's a five hour journey through life seen mostly through the eyes of Alexander, a little boy, and it can be sweetly heartwarming or gut-wrenchingly sorrowful. There was one hard to watch scene in particular that was the most raw depiction of grief I've seen in a movie. Some of the events and imagery are mysterious, particularly towards the end, but this only serves to further catalyze intense thought and reflection on the viewer's part. Also the cinematography was absolutely enthralling. Ingmar Bergman shoots the interior of cluttered houses like Francis Ford Coppola shoots the lush jungle in "Apocalypse Now." There's so much in the shot that it should most definitely be too busy to be aesthetically pleasing, and yet Bergman finds the perfect way to show it to the audience. Beautiful. And his use of lighting only accentuates his mastering of the camera, especially when windows are around. And the acting is also magnificent. I can't even think of a performance to point out since they were all air-tight, and a large portion of the Ekdahl family is given even screen time. I'll probably be thinking about this movie for the rest of my life. True, blissful cinema.
On par with the original. And that's quite impressive.
It is so rare that a remake matches the quality of the original, but this film does just that. In terms of quality, the two movies are in a perfect tie, I really can't decide which is better. I'll start with Lisbeth. Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth is tough as nails and very mysterious to the audience and especially to the other characters. Rooney Mara's version of Lisbeth is quite different. She's vulnerable and she quickly becomes easy to sympathize with. She's also more understandable. There's a part in this film relatively early on when Mike smirks at her antics, as if she and him are good friends even though they only met yesterday. Lisbeth's relationship with the audience is much the same in this movie. In both movies there's a part where she disguises herself as a well- dressed business woman. In the Swedish version, she looks out of place; like she's wearing a costume, but in this version she looks comfortable. Like the piercings, leather jackets, and crazy hairstyles she wears are the disguise instead of the classy suit. In the Swedish version, Lisbeth's personality closely matches her exterior appearance, but in this one, at the core, she is a little less complex, but more relatable. If I had to choose who's performance I prefer I would have to say Noomi Rapace's because she seems more complex and a bit more mysterious, but Rooney Mara did an outstanding job and made it her own as well. I also preferred the pace at which the mystery unravels in the Swedish version to this one. The audience is kept in the dark much longer in that version and it makes the twists much more potent. However, if there's one thing the American version did better (much better), it's the cinematography. The film embraces its neo-noir vibes and delivers many stylized shots that are infinitely more visually interesting than its Swedish counterpart's shots. There's one in particular where the camera moves in to right behind Lisbeth's head and then flips around her to show her face encased in a glowing red light that I really loved. It looked great and it captured the tone of the scene quite well, something the Swedish version didn't try to do very often. David Fincher is a master at creating unsanitary, immoral labyrinths with his camera-work (Fight Club, Se7en), and that's on full display here as well. Like I said, the films tie. They both show different sides to the story and Lisbeth and I recommend both very highly. "