In the years doing the April Showers series it's become clear that there are basically four types of shower scenes in movies: sex scenes, sight gags, horror moments when characters are at their most vulnerable and emotional cleansing moments (that the body also gets scrubbed is just a bonus). Dragon Tattoo's shower sequence is clearly the latter type, after Lisbeth's brutal rape. David Fincher famously quipped pre-release that his movie had too much anal rape for Oscar. Oscar didn't mind so much nominating it for several Oscars.
Fincher's discussion of the sequence [after the jump. NSFW] on the commentary track is interesting.
There are these heightened moment that are used to dramatize conflicts between characters and horrific ideas about what people do to one an other. I liken it to -- in an odd way to me the scariest thing in Psycho is not Norman's stabbing of Janet Leigh in the shower but his cleanup. He goes through this ritualized almost... it's like the anal retentiveness of it, the need for order, to restore order, is what makes it so kind of terrifying. I love the fact that Bjurman doesn't see himself as a rapist. It has to do with his narcissism. I think that if you held Bjurman at gunpoint and said "Why do you do these horrible things?". He would have an excuse. He would have a rationalization..."
When Rooney fumbles with the pills and takes off her shirt we see the tattoo on her chest that has her mother's name and the day her mother died. And then she squats in the shower. It's so incredibly vulnerable and it's so brave of somebody to do. It totally wins me over.
It's one of those moments that strikes me as an audience member on a level that I can't even rationalize. I can't even look at it and say what it is that is so moving about it. It's the notion of being so... it's not the nakedness. It's the trying to put the pieces back together, trying to make sense of it, trying to move on."
Watching it a second time recently, free of expectations or the heat of the Oscar curiousity moment, Fincher's amazing craftmanship and the guild's then surprising response makes more sense. It's clear in every frame that this might be the best movie anyone can make of that particular novel unless they really strayed from the choppy source material.
I am insane."
P.S. I can't decide what's crazier: Rooney Mara's Oscar nomination (not that she isn't terrific but it's still an out-there nomination in terms of what the Academy usually goes for) or the fact that they used Lisbeth's own revenge rape as the Oscar clip.