Remember way back when I did movie reviews… here’s one for old times sake.
There is probably going to be a spoiler or two… so think about that if you haven’t seen it and intend to do so.
I’ll cut right to the chase, because, despite there being a lot to like about this movie, there was one aspect that left me walking out of the theater wishing it was made while I was still in college so I could spend the entire night/weekend/whatever talking about it with my oh so smart and worldly (sarcasm there, in case that wasn’t obvious) friends.
The last scene alone would have provided hours of poetic waxing about the commodification of sex, the dysfunctional aftermath of abuse, and the joyously flawed character reveal… tantalizingly delayed until the very end and yet not really withheld at all.
There are so many conclusions that can be drawn throughout the movie about the relationship building between Lisbeth and Mikael; however, in the end – regardless of what you thought would happen, or what you thought should happen – it went down exactly as it should.
In the movie, we do not see any significant relationship building between the main characters. While we witness extreme circumstances leading to outlandish actions, we are made aware of nothing foundational between Salander and Blomkvist. We see sex (which at first seems like mercy sex, and then seems like utility sex, but never appears to be passion or affection), we see inter-dependence, we even see a life saved; but we never see commonality or synchronicity.
Surely, to Lisbeth, the act of sexually communing with Mikael was a major investment. Her sexuality has always been an unhealthy yet integral part of her value. People have abused her for it and blackmailed her for it and now she had found a place where she actually wanted to not only use it… but perhaps find meaning in it.
Mikael, by contrast, in sleeping with Salander, is cheating for at least the second straight time (that we know of) and appears to tragically undervalue their physical intimacy. It was inviting, fun, and enjoyable…but never appeared to be terribly significant.
The inevitable collision of these values was foreshadowed well by his distraction during their encounter in the hotel and climaxed (pun intended) fantastically in the final scene.
Blomkvist, of course, goes back to his life – including his married girlfriend; oblivious to the idea that anything significant was going on with Salander. Lisbeth, by contrast, confides in her most (only?) trusted companion that she has started forging a relationship with someone that he “would like” (or “approve of”, can’t remember which word she used but the intent was the same); only to find him laughing arm in arm with the previously mentioned other woman.
The couple in front of me at the theater, as the credits started to roll, began to speculate on whether it was his daughter (we only see the woman from behind, so the part about his being with the married woman above is my speculation… and clearly what you are supposed to think), or if he was going out with her one last time to break up with her… or… or… or.
I haven’t read the books (although I am about to start as I see tremendous potential beyond just a good intrigue novel now), so I don’t know what comes next. Perhaps the half-fullers in front of me are right on one of their guesses; and, honestly, I won’t have my feelings hurt if they are and everything I have speculated on is dead wrong. There is a certain pleasure to be taken in thinking that these two broken people might be just what each other needs to cobble a happy and productive life out of their respective pasts.
But, if their not, and it is as I saw it… while it won’t be all “happy Hollywood,” this movie is a great and candid look into humanity and the ravages of abuse… and one hell of a conversation starter.
Even if it is just a few years too late for me to take full advantage of it…