The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The story and how it plays out is nearly identical to the Swedish movie. We follow Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) as he gets hired to solve a decades’ old murder. He hires Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) as his assistant, though she was ironically the one who did the background check on him for the murder mystery case. She’s also different “in every way.”
The plot does get unnecessarily convoluted at several points and there are scenes that just feel like they’re dragging, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is wonderfully moody and thoroughly entertaining. The score by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor certainly doesn’t hurt either.
Here I was, thinking that the basic premise behind Drive was the same as the Transporter movies: there’s a guy who is the hired driver for some sort of criminal activity. That’s partly true, but this film couldn’t be more different from the Jason Statham action flicks.
Instead of cheesy one-liners and car chase scenes, you get a methodical character piece. Ryan Gosling plays a man with an unknown past and he happens to be a very good driver. He eventually gets mixed up in a deal gone wrong and the dominoes start to fall. Drive is not at all what I expected, but I am glad I watched it. Especially when it suddenly gets gruesomely violent.
You Don’t Know Jack (2010)
Originally a made for TV movie (HBO), You Don’t Know Jack tells the story of Jack Kevorkian, the highly controversial “Doctor Death” of the late 1980s and into the 1990s. While it certainly addresses the moral implications of doctor assisted suicide, this film also does a fantastic job of portraying Kevorkian not just as a controversial figure, but as a human being.
Yes, it’s very sad. This movie is deeply depressing to watch, but it’s also richly beautiful in its presentation. You may not agree with his perspective or some of the very questionable things that he did, but thanks to this movie and Al Pacino’s brilliant performance, you can understand why Jack did what he did.
In Time (2011)
Time is money. Literally. That’s the idea behind this near-future thriller where the population is divided into different “time zones” based on their relative wealth. What’s more, everyone stops aging at 25, initiating a glowing clock in your arm that counts down to your death. When you earn money, you gain time. And the poorest people quite literally live day-to-day.
It all sounded promising, but the execution is incredibly weak, not giving the time to explain certain what needed to be explained and developed. You get your usual rich girl with poor guy dynamic, a healthy dose of Stockholm Syndrome, and some high speed chases that really mean nothing. In Time could have been a lot better, but instead it is ultimately a waste of your time.