We’ve all had those moments when we feel like that old German guy in The Avengers. You remember the scene: Loki has told the crowd to kneel, and every last one of them does as they’ve been told, but then one elderly gentleman gets back to his feet, refusing to play along just because everyone else is.
Now, that is not to suggest that popular opinion is tantamount to a fanatical would-be dictator demanding your complete subservience. Even so, there are times when we’re being told everywhere we look that something we know to be mediocre is actually incredible. It’s easy under such circumstances to feel like the sole voice of reason, the one person pointing out that the emperor has no clothes, or screaming that Soylent Green is people.
They may have their strengths and they may have made their mark on popular culture – but does this make them masterpieces? Not quite…
12. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
Worthy subject matter can go a long way to proving the importance of a movie, but it doesn’t count for everything.
Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation of the best-selling novel may well have contemporary significance given the widespread resurgence of feminism in recent years, and it may have launched the great Noomi Rapace in a big way. However, none of this makes it a great film.
Okay, so it has an unconventional heroine in a tattooed, pierced Goth, and it takes an unflinching approach to the ugly matter of sexual violence. Beyond this, however, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is little more than a bog-standard detective story, delivered with no more creativity or energy than any given episode of a TV cop show; boringly photographed, overlong, and – Rapace aside – blandly performed.
As much as it may attempt to address a serious issue with the rape-revenge angle, more than anything the film has helped revive the use of rape as a lazy plot device in subpar exploitation films such as the I Spit On Your Grave remake trilogy. Perhaps a message of female empowerment was intended, but all The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would seem to have achieved was convincing unimaginative filmmakers that all they need to do to make their work seem edgy is to throw a bit of rape in there.