December 28, at 5: August 13, at The camera unflinchingly captures much of the brutal violation — her struggles to get away, his obese body forcing himself atop her, her piercing wail.
Some of us turn away and close our eyes. But it will also be viewed as necessary by others and perhaps even leave a few perplexed that someone might blast the filmmaker for having shown way too much. That these provocative sequences can trigger such a potent and varied response is no surprise. Although much was written about those films, American audiences avoided both. I, too, gave it a glowing review. The question, then, is: Did the Oscar-nominated director David Fincher really need to make that attack so viciously explicit?
I say yes, with qualifiers. As well it should. It is entirely debatable whether that scene could have been shortened and accomplished the same goal. But remember, you could say the same about extreme violent content in other films.
With her Mohawk, piercings and cut-to-the-bone glare, the computer hacker is an unforgettable force and presence. But reading about the awfulness perpetrated on her in a book and watching it transpire on screen are entirely different experiences.
Films — especially ones that depict acts of violence — have the power to burnish images into our subconscious forever. Still, just like books, movies deserve freedom, and should not shy away from provocative or controversial subject matter. Fincher certainly never has. It is first and foremost a genre picture — a compelling thriller about moral and societal corruption, along with other thought-provoking issues. One of its overriding themes explores the evil that men can do to women — a deeply personal topic for the late Larsson, who reportedly witnessed a gang rape when he was a teenager.
It must make us uncomfortable and must make us squirm in our seats.