Tag Archives: Noomi Rapace

Go Rewatch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

If you’ve heard of this series (in either its film or book form), there’s a good chance it’s because David Fincher of Fight Club/Se7en/The Social Network fame directed the American remake. Even if you’ve heard of it, there’s a also a good chance you haven’t seen it- Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo did only so-so at the box-office, not quite tanking, but also not becoming as popular as many were speculating it would be. And that’s a real tragedy, because the story, in spite of its flaws, is a really good one- you’re just going to have to make a few adjustments in how you see it.

I. Watch the Swedish Version Instead

In my post about the differences between British and American television, I pointed out that American film typically physically glamorizes each and every character- no matter how minor- while the Brits are comfortable with their protagonists actually looking like people you’d meet on the street. While not quite to on the level of the British (from what little I have seen of Swedish film), the Swedes do seem to lean more towards the Brits when it comes to this, and while it doesn’t like it’s all that important, “humanizing” the characters a bit more by making them look like people you’d actually know gives all that more grittiness and clout to the issues the story grapples with.

Beyond that, there’s the issue of casting for Lisbeth Salander. Now I’m not going to knock either Noomi Rapace or Rooney Mara, partly because they’re both terrifying…

But I do nevertheless have to address the eyebrows.

More specifically, the fact that Mara’s Lisbeth doesn’t have any.

Ok, that’s not entirely fair- Mara’s version does have eyebrows- they’re just wispy blonde and really hard to see. And that’s something that’s pretty dang unsettling- heck, it’s downright terrifying.

I know it’s probably petty, but Rapace’s Salander, having eyebrows we can actually see, makes it that much easier to watch an already tough movie.

II. Watch the Second Movie First (Then the First, Then the Third)

Not having had any background knowledge of the series, I accidentally wound up watching the second part of the trilogy (The Girl Who Played With Fire) instead of the first segment (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). As confusing as it was, I think that this is the best way to do it. While it’s a good movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo really is something of a stand-alone piece, often accused of being pretty linear and slow. The subsequent stories, filled with high stakes of human trafficking and political intrigue, are a lot faster and more action-packed, but really depart from the general style of the first segment. By starting with The Girl Who Played With Fire, you get to be dropped right into the action and have a relaxing “flashback” with TGWTDT that fills in all the blanks and builds up tension and momentum for the final film, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Give it a shot- I promise it’ll pay off.

IV. Cut Steig Larsson Some Slack

A lot of critics of both the film and the books have pointed out that the male protagonist in the stories, Mikael Blomkvist, is essentially author Steig Larsson’s literary avatar. As a result, plenty of people blow off the films and books as just being Larsson’s own little fantasy in which he, the last honest journalist teams up with a goth-punk hacker to solve mysteries together. The fact that Fincher chose Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James ****ing Bond) to play Blomkvist probably didn’t do anything to assuage those accusations.

But here’s the thing- Larsson can’t be accused of writing a fantasized version himself into his books because the real Steig Larsson is way more badass!

As a boy, Larsson witnessed the rape of a woman, and so wracked with guilt at not having been able to do anything, wound up dedicating the rest of his life to fighting for justice and equality. In the 70s, he traveled to Eritrea to train an all-female squad in the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front. He returned to Sweden to found a watchdog journalist group and investigate and combat neo-nazism and white supremacy, despite continually receiving death-threats.

Yeah, that’s not so much a biography as it is a superhero origin story. That’s enough right there to make Jack London and Ernest Hemingway look like pansies. If anything, Blomkvist is a version of Larsson nerfed for the sake of believability. Let’s cut the guy some slack.

IV. Understand a Bit About What’s Being Addressed

Part of the issue with the series is that it’s a commentary in no small part on Swedish social and political issues. I only recall it being hinted at in the American version, but the Swedish version of the film spent a bit more time touching on the Wennerstrom family’s (and the entire country’s) shameful flirtation with Nazism in the 30s and 40s, as well as the ongoing issues of xenophobia and racism in contemporary Sweden. Beyond that the series tries to address issues of corruption within the state, as well as the ugly reality of human trafficking (which despite growing awareness, might not quite strike home with American audiences). You don’t need to have a detailed understanding of the intricacies of State-Capitalist governance and Scandinavian history, but knowing a bit about the very real issues of fascism and racism in Europe does add a whole lot.

So what are you waiting for? Go watch ’em!

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Batman: The Dark Knight Re-Cast

Before we begin, I want to make something clear: I have not seen The Dark Knight Rises. I can’t speak to the actors or the story or Nolan’s heretical-yet-genius take on either. I am further not saying that the actors in the trilogy didn’t do a good job- they were great, however this is Culture War Reporters, and with Batman (and the whole DC Universe) being so popular right now, and with Nolan leaving for other projects, we really can’t help but speculate if Batman were to be re-done, who would be the best fit for the characters?

Bruce Wayne/Batman:

Actor: Michael Fassbender

Why We Want Him: We here at CWR aren’t the first (by a long shot) to speculate on Fassbender for the caped crusader. Simple fact of the matter is, the Irish-German actor has both proven to have the suave poise needed for Bruce Wayne (see his roles in Inglorious Basterds or X-Men: First Class) and the brutish physicality needed for Batman (see his roles in Hunger or 300). Beyond all that, the man has got the strong, square-jaw typically more associated with Batman, which while not required for a good Batman (just look at Bale) is still a plus.

Cons: I’ve never actually heard him do an American accent, so I am gambling a bit here.

Alfred Pennyworth:

Actor: John Cleese

Why We Want Him: Because he is John ****ing Cleese, one of the funniest men to have ever ministry-of-silly-walked the earth. While Michael Cane did a great job as Alfred, like Fassbender, Cleese simply looks more like the classic depiction of the Wayne’s stalwart servant.

Cons: Standing at 6’5″, Cleese is bound to dwarf everyone else on scene with him.

Dick Grayson/Robin/Night Wing:

Actor: Jensen Ackles

Why We Want Him: Obviously, this isn’t the same Robin that wears a bright yellow cape and red outfit, because, you know, who needs stealth? Ackles, simply put, has the height and build to serve as a believable counterpart to Fassbender, as well as the acting chops to match the devil-may-care personality Nightwing is usually portrayed as having.

Cons: When I was drafting this list, I told myself that I wouldn’t use anyone who had already been in a Batman movie, and as Ackles did the voice for Jason Todd/Robin in Batman: Under the Red Hood (which is a surprisingly good movie), I am sorta cheating here.

Selina Kyle/Catwoman:

Actress: Olivia Wilde

Why We Want Her: Let there be no mistake- Catwoman is no easy character to play, and many a fine actress has attempted to take on the role, only to get scratched. I won’t say that I think Wilde is at long last the one who will nail it, but rather, if I was a gambling man (which I am), my money would be on her.

Cons: Like I said, it’s a gamble with any actress- runners up would be Noomi Rapace, Zoe Saldana, or the reanimated body of Eartha Kitt. Another major point would be that Wilde, to the best of my knowledge hasn’t (to my knowledge) been in any major action roles.

The Joker:

Actor: David Tennant

Why We Want Him: Not only does Tennant look the part, but on nerd-credit alone makes for a valuable addition to the movie. We’re talking about the zaniest Doctor Who and a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. In short, we have an actor good enough to do Shakespeare, who already has a history of playing semi-psyhcotic characters, who has a rabidly loyal fan following, and who has the perfect facial features for a classic Joker.

Cons: Tennant is just slightly taller than Fassbender, which while certainly making for a scary Joker, might be a bit much. Vincent Cassel might make for a decent alternative, only I’m not sure he can do an American accent.

Commissioner Jim Gordon:

Actor: Byran Cranston

Why We Want Him:
It was Evan, actually, who suggested Bryan Cranston (of Breaking Bad) for the role of Commissioner Gordon, and while I would’ve initially cited Stacey Keach as the logical choice, Cranston, while not quite as heavyset as your classic Jim Gordon, is one powerhouse of an actor (seriously, go watch Breaking Bad).

Cons: Let’s face it, Cranston, as good as he is, does look a little like Gary Oldman’s Commissioner, and there’s a decent chance that you’d have that constantly gnawing at the back of your mind while you watched the movie.

Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle:

Actress: Emma Stone

Why We Want Her:
Emma Stone is already established as a good actress (see The Help or Superbad), and unlike Wilde, has had a bit of action experience in Zombieland, and if rumors are correct, is going to be doing some action in an upcoming film called “Gangster Squad“.

Cons:
Barring her role in Zombieland action roles, I don’t know of any other action roles Stone has had, which for playing Batgirl is obviously an issue, though that could be avoided by simply skipping ahead to Oracle. Plus she just played Gwen Stacey in The Amazing Spider-Man. Felicia Day would make a decent runner-up.

Edward Nigma/The Riddler:

Actor: Neil Patrick Harris

Why We Want Him: Look at him. Look at him! That is Neil Patrick Harris, and he is amazing. Look up the word “Awesome” in the dictionary. Do you see a picture of him? No, because that’s how awesome NPH is- if they put a picture of him in the dictionary nobody would ever read anything but the “Awesome” definition all the time. This guy would make a- no, the– perfect Riddler.

Cons: There are no cons- how dare you even read this! Though if NPH was too busy being awesome to play the Riddler, Steve Buscemi would be a nice backup.

Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot/The Penguin:

Actor: Patton Oswalt

Why We Want Him: Besides his short stature and general pudginess, comedian Patton Oswalt is a huge comic book fan, and offering him the role of the Penguin seems only right and natural.

Cons: Other than his voice acting, I don’t believe I’ve actually seen Oswalt in any films, and in off-chance his live action work isn’t up to par, there’s always Tobie Jones.

Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy:

Actress: Bryce Dallas Howard

Why We Want Her: Howard can already do some decently evil characters (see her role in The Help), and on top her general acting abilities already looks the part of the deranged eco-terrorist, Poison Ivy.

Cons: Yet again, we’re faced with the issue of a lack of any action roles to serve as evidence that Howard would do well here. Plus she was apparently in one of the Twilight movies, which is the general moral equivalent of clubbing a baby seal to death using another baby seal.

Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow:

Actor: Kevin Bacon

Why We Want Him: If you’ve ever seen the film The Hollow Man, you really wouldn’t need to ask.

Cons: The man is getting on in years, and his incarnation of the Scarecrow would probably more of an intellectual and physical antagonist.

Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze:

Actor: Hugh Laurie
Why We Want Him:
I had some difficulty trying to figure out who would make a really good Mr. Freeze (Jim Rash was my first reaction). Evan suggested Hugh Laurie, and after some consideration, I guess I can see it- it’d be neat to see Laurie in the role of the villain, at the very least.

Cons: None. The back story of Victor Fries is so touching that not even Arnold Schwarzenegger could butcher the moment they revealed it back in Batman & Robin.

Dr. Harleen Francis Quinzel/Harley Quinn:

Actress: Kristen Bell

Why We Want Her: I wasn’t aware of this, but apparently there’s this push among Bell’s fans (you might remember her from Heroes, just before the series started to tank) for her to play Harley Quinn. Hey- give the people what they want.

Cons: Seeing as how Bell has already had some experience playing a super-villain, there’s really not a whole lot negative to say here.

Bane:

Actor: Jason Momoa

Why We Want Him: Look, I haven’t seen Nolan’s Bane, so I can’t make any comparison there, and with regards to the character in general, despite the whole “Count of Monte Cristo on Steroids” backstory, I’ve only ever seen Bane portrayed as a thug juiced-up on venom. Regardless of which way you’d want to take the character in a reboot, the man for the job is Jason Momoa (Conan the Barbarian, HBO’s Game of Thrones). The man is a freaking beast.

Cons: I’ve seen Momoa in Conan and Thrones, where he’s got a clear physical presence, but I really can’t say if he could hit the intellectual side, and really be Moriarty to Bruce Wayne’s Holmes.

Homeless Guys 1 and 2:

Cameos: Frank Miller and Alan Moore

We We Want Need Them:

As much as Miller is a raving, qausi-fascist lunatic and Moore a man who thinks he’s a wizard, it can’t be denied that both of these men have had a major impact not only on Batman, but on the world of comics- having them pass by in a seen would be, in my own opinion, a neat little salute (not the kind Miller likes, though).

Cons: There’s a strong possibility that Miller will go on a rampage when the moon wanes into a crescent, frothing at the mouth (Miller, not the moon) and swearing it’s part of an Islamic global conspiracy to destroy America. Moore will huff set paint until the voices in his head start singing in key.