After Elrood picked up the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I decided to give it a go myself. Despite some very disturbing scenes I found the book entertaining on a level not reached by any other novel whose pages I’ve thumbed this year. So when I saw the book’s native sons had created a movie built on the book I had to take a look. And wouldn’t you know it I found a rainbow inside? But you don’t have to take my word for it. Sorry, I think I’ve been watching too much TNG lately. Anyway, the Swedes made a movie based on the Stieg Larrson novel. Who apparently doesn’t drive fast cars around an airport just off the A281 in Guilford. Being Swedish the movie is subtitled which precludes about 80 percent of my friends from seeing it. The lazy bastards. Still I’ll soldier on for all you internets.
Now, the Stieg’s novel appeals to my former, and possibly future, journalistic self but it will also appeal to anyone who loves a good locked room mystery. It’s a carefully interwoven tale of seemingly unconnected characters crafted with a great deal of elegance. And rape. There’s a fair bit of rape. The Niels Arden Oplev film handles the rape tastefully and with a notable lack of visual explanation. Implication works well. But Oplev’s handling of the novel’s complexity is poor at best. The whole thing is hacked to pieces and restructured in a way only recognizable by people who have actually read the novel. Major plot points have been completely ignored and major characters relegated to the shadows while the timeline has been significantly reordered. Normally in foreign and independent films the complaint is the film develops far too slowly and seems to drag on. Oplev’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo more closely resembles a brutish Hollywood film in its mad dash to the climax, which is unsatisfyingly brief. Even at just under three hours it seems rushed.
The characters themselves are wholly undeveloped as well. The who of this whodunit is completely undeveloped as a character and fails to come off as sinister until it is far too late. Lisbeth, the title girl played by Noomi Rapace…Rape Ace? Really? Sorry. That was uncalled for. Anyway, Ms. Rapace does work well with what she’s given, but her screen time is inadequate to fully develop the juxtaposition of brilliance and social awkwardness that is Lisbeth Salander. Rapace is the only Swede in the film you may have seen before. She plays a role in the latest of Guy Ritchie‘s Sherlock Holmes exploits.
I’d say more but I’d just be wasting your time. I’m very much looking forward to Hollywood’s take on the novel. For once I think the modern remake will far exceed the original in quality. Not that it doesn’t happen, I just never expect it to. But with a cast that includes Daniel Craig, Buttercup, and Captain Von Tramp how could we go wrong? As an aside Robin Wright is far closer to my vision of Erika Berger than Lena Endre. For one she doesn’t look like a skeleton.