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A Single Finest Dragon Tattoo

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | July 6, 2010 |

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | July 6, 2010 |

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as is often the case with imported foreign works, is best understood through the lens of its original title: Män som hatar kvinnor, or “Men who hate women.” Based on the first novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy, the Swedish film is an engrossing look at the allure of obsession, but it’s also a brutal, uncompromising experience meant to vividly explore the depths to which some men go to own and ultimately destroy women. There are scenes of sexual violence as uncomfortable as anything you will see in mainstream cinema, and I would be lying to say that I did anything other than suffer through them. But there’s a point to such suffering, even at a fictional remove, and director Niels Arden Oplev knows it. Those dark moments aren’t designed to engender pity for the women in question, or to shock the viewer, or even to provide motive for the victims — though they do all of that — but to ultimately illuminate the bitter truth that, like it or not, these things happen all the time. Larsson was a journalist by trade, and as such, his crime stories couldn’t be about anything other than the duty of forcing truth on the reader. The film adaptation of his novel is a gut-wrenching, propulsive thriller, packed with emotion, horror, and fascinating characters. And running through it all, like a slender thread, is a harrowing sense of reality.” - Daniel Carlson

A Single Man: “After watching the first five minutes of director Tom Ford’s debut film A Single Man (2009), I started to fear the worst. Between the slow motion-accentuated, visually abstracted images of a nude male body submerged in an endless body of water, punctuated by the yearning sounds of a violin, I leaned over to my wife and whispered “Oh no. This could be a feature length version of an Obsession commercial.” Ford’s background as the former creative director for Gucci and a prominent fashion designer left me ambivalent as to his ability to construct a meaningful film. An hour and half later, my fears were utterly annihilated and I was struck by the sentiment that A Single Man is not only one of the most aesthetically accomplished films of the year but a film that also finds balance beyond form in the drama of the script (adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s novel by Ford and David Scearce) and the amazing performances (particularly those of Colin Firth and Julianne Moore) contained within.” - Drew Morton

Brooklyn’s Finest: “The most welcome surprise about Brooklyn’s Finest is that, while the three running story lines brush up against each other, they don’t weave together in an unnecessarily Crash sort of way. After a two-hour, intense slow burn, the last thing you want is for the three cops to gun each other down in a deus ex Mexican standoff while Paul Haggis stands by nodding agreeably.” - Dustin Rowles

Also released this week: Bitten, Eyeborgs

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Genevieve Burgess is a Features Contributor for Pajiba. You can follow Genevieve Burgess on Twitter.