DVD reviews: The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo | Freud

The Scotsman’s film critic Alistair Harkness offers us his take on the recent DVD releases

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Sony, £19.99

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ALTHOUGH sales of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy have blown its literary merits out of all proportion, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo gets the film adaptation it deserves with David Fincher’s English-language version. For starters, it’s properly cinematic, with an approach that’s is as in-your-face as Se7en and Fight Club thanks largely to a jolting Bond-esque credit sequence that prefigures the arrival of antisocial cyber-hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). What follows is less straightforward as the plot takes a back seat to the relationship between Lisbeth and disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). Craig brings gravitas, smouldering sexuality and a surprising amount of playfulness to Blomkvist, and he’s complemented by Mara’s Oscar-nominated take on Lisbeth, which transforms her into a plausible human being as opposed to a cartoon Goth. It helps that the film is also so rich in atmosphere: the chilly Swedish environs are shot in cold, austere fashion to temper the hotbed of intrigue and depravity bubbling away beneath the surface; meanwhile, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s flinty score slices through the film, trapping us in Lisbeth’s disturbed headspace. The convoluted plot is a little unwieldy in places, but Fincher’s slickness and the strength of the characters make this easy to forgive.

Freud

Transition Digital Media, £12.99

GIVEN his influence on so much artistic, cultural and intellectual thought, Sigmund Freud is a surprisingly infrequent subject for major movies. Aside from popping up as comic relief in the likes of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Young Frankenstein, the films that have been made about him can be pretty much narrowed down to David Cronenberg’s recent A Dangerous Method and this 1962 film, Freud, from John Huston featuring Montgomery Clift. This is very much an origins story, exploring the formulation of his theories, and Huston shoots it like a noir thriller, treating Freud as a sort of a dream detective pulling us into the dark world of the subconscious where he learns disturbing things about his own life as he tries to cure a young woman (Susannah York) of hysteria. It’s an entertaining approach to a fascinating subject.

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