Monday, 7 November 2011

Awesome Films Number 2: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

No. Not the forthcoming US remake of this fine Swedish movie. The original Swedish version. I have the say, the thought of the remake makes me incredibly sad. I mean, the Swedish movies only came out a couple of years ago, why do they need to remake it in English? I can only assume that it is because the target audience can't be bothered to read the subtitles. Anyway. I think I'll save my final feelings on that for when I've seen the remake.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or Män Som Hatar Kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women) as it is titled in Swedish is the movie adaptation of the novel of the same title by Stieg Larsson. It follows the fictional journalist Mikael Blomqvist and his reluctant assistant Lisbeth Salander as they search for a missing person, tackle corporate corruption and murder. At the beginning of the film Blomqvist has been found guilty of libel after he published a report on the corruption in a large company. 

Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace)

Mikael 'Kalle' Blomqvist (played by Michael Nyqvist)
The film is a fantastic adaptation of the book, capturing the very essence of Larsson's characters. The scenery is gorgeous (it does have the advantage of being in Sweden, which is pretty awesome really) and the cinematography is sumptuous. Having read the book before seeing the film I was really worried how Lisbeth would be portrayed, as she is such a complex character, but I needn't have worried - Noomi Rapace's portrayal is absolutely spot on. Rapace took a method approach and everything you see about Lisbeth's appearance in the film is actually real, there is no stage make up or clever costuming.

This is part of a trilogy, and the narrative does reflect that; the main plot of this book/film is resolved in a traditional fashion, but then there is a sub plot that continues into the second and third film. The story is very clever at not really leaving you sure whether there is a hero or not - all the protaganists are inherently flawed as well as being crusaders for good in their own way. This nod to pulp fiction and film noir sits well with the gritty feel of Scandinavian crime fiction and this is no exception.

The David Fincher version of this film comes out very soon (December I think) but I urge you to watch the Swedish version first. From the trailers I've seen, the point of the book has been missed somewhat and the treatment of Lisbeth in particular seems a little off. Still, to be sure I will have to watch it.

For now, enjoy the majesty of the original film. Available from Amazon and other good DVD retailers.

(all pictures screen grabbed by me)

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