Fellow Movie Lovers
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
It is rare when a movie is equal to or surpasses the challenges facing it’s creators when it follows the success of a best selling book. Here is a mighty exception. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, one of the longest reigning best sellers in Sweden, achieving matching notoriety in the United States. The first in a trilogy, submitted in its entirety, followed shortly by the untimely death of Mr. Larsson, at the age of fifty.
Their have been many screen pairings that transcend the story: Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in “Gone With the Wind”; Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal in “ Love Story”; Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty in “ Splendor in the Grass”; Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in “ Bonnie and Clyde”; Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”; Julie Christie and Warren Beatty in “ Shampoo”; Annett Bening and Warren Beatty in “ Bugsy”.
Stieg Larsson has conjured up the most unique couple of the twenty- first century: Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) and Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo, Noomie Rapace). In the world of fiction they are formidable and unforgettable. A pair so disparate in age, background and skills but unlike oil and water the differences blend into a galvanizing and exhilarating partnership. He champions in his prescient investigative skill and she is inscrutable, inexorable, incorrigible, but has yet to meet a computer that can withstand her hacking genius. This is a mystery and thriller that will sear the memory forever and is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
Whether you have read the novel or not this movie with its cacophony of thrills and chills will keep you emotionally pulverized throughout its incredulous duration; and lusting for the sequel.
FOUR & ½ STARS!
THE ART OF THE STEAL
Dr. Albert Barnes (1872-1951) amassed one of the most massive and pristine collections of art in modern times. It is housed in his home in Merion, Pennsylvania and was meant to stay there in perpetuity. This is a documentary about the bastardization and travesty of his legal (and supposed unbreakable) will. A crime so heinous, yet perpetrated by those whose Foundations exist for the betterment of society. They stole and destroyed the wishes of a man who came from poverty, rose to Horatio Alger heights, by inventing Argyrol, an antiseptic, that did benefit mankind. At thirty-five he was a millionaire and dove headlong into a passionate pursuit of art. This was the 1930’s and he fearlessly bought what he loved; he broke all the rules and bought the unknown and unrevered.
He was criticized, scolded and maligned by the press for his choices; but he never wavered from his vision and kept acquiring. And those indulgences include 181 Renoir’s, 69 Cezanne’s, 59 Matisse’s. No museum in the world can match this.
There are over 2,500 objects in his home, his museum. Viewing them can cause vertigo; masterpiece piled on masterpiece, such beauty rampantly assaulting one’s senses; my daughter and I rendered speechless (miraculous in itself) by the privilege of the experience. Matisse felt that his works found their perfect resting place in Dr. Barnes home. Cezanne said “Monet is only an eye, but my God what and eye”; the same can be said of Albert Barnes; his first Picasso cost one hundred dollars!
His will written in 1922 pledged forever that his property, his works of art (valued in today’s market between 25-30 billion dollars) exist solely for the education and artistic enlightenment of children. He felt that art history stifled self expression and appreciation of art, yet he became an art historian of his own individualistic, iconoclastic invention.
The documentary “fair and unbalanced” is exceptionally made; there is no hand held camera affect. Why was the will slowly expunged by the Trustees (Lincoln College); the Politicians the Foundations? Some of these questions are answered, others unresolved.
Appropriately titled, this film focuses on the true masterpiece, the subterfuge perpetrated by those who artfully stole a man’s legacy!