The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Political journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) has just been released from prison, wherein he was serving a short time for making falsely proven claims against successful businessman Hans-Erik Wennerstrom (Ulf Friberg). With his reputation in tatters, Blomkvist accepts an offer to lay low for a while, looking into the family history of Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), specifically the disappearance of Vanger’s granddaughter Harriet from their remote family island 40 years ago. Meanwhile Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), the young, socially isolated hacker Vanger hired to research into Blomkvist’s background, has to deal with her own personal issues – a new, abusive, government-appointed guardian for one – before she too becomes an integral part of Blomkvist’s case. Continue reading

Unbreakable

Unbreakable is essentially an anti-superhero movie, taking many of the genres staples and applying them to a real-life thriller, years before Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman franchise with his realistic and plausible worldview. The hero, David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has alliterative initials (Bruce Banner/Peter Parker/Clark Kent), wears a hooded cloak and has a penchant for posing in the rain with a bright light behind him, illuminating a stark silhouette on the screen, yet unlike most comic book heroes, when he tries to chat up a girl (after slyly removing his wedding ring) the attempt fails. That never happened to Tony Stark.  The film is even shot like a comic book, with the aforementioned chat up routine swaying from person to person between seats on a train, and many scenes utilising one bright colour, such a bright orange boiler suit, contrasting against the surrounding dreary muted blacks, browns and greys.
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Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is built on one man’s incredible journey through the key moments of recent American history, from landmark events like the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal, to key figures of pop culture including Elvis Presley, John Lennon and several presidents. The seamless integration of Gump into archive footage subtly shows director Robert Zemeckis’ expansion on the technology he developed in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the soundtrack is suitable epic too, especially during the war sequences. As with most films I’m very familiar with, it’s the small touches I like the most, for example the way Gump’s eyes are shut in every photo he’s in, including the lifesize cardboard cutouts used for advertising ping pong bats. Also, the way Zemeckis makes life harder for himself is admirable, such as the shot panning up from [spoiler] Lt. Dan’s new prosthetic leg to his face could have been accomplished much more easily by simply cutting from the leg to his face, yet instead complex CGI is used to mimic the leg on Gary Sinise’s body. Tom Hanks is of course the heart and soul of the film, fully rounding his simple Gump with only admirable qualities, producing a truly heartbreaking performance at times.


Choose film 9/10