Thursday, August 1, 2013

Movie #202: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an adaptation of Swedish author Stieg Larsson's novel of the same name, and stars Michael Nvquist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube, Ingvar Hirdwall, and Peter Andersson. This, obviously, is the first film adaptation, in Swedish, not the more recent one with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, which I don't own.

So: Mikhael Blomkvist (Nvquist) is a journalist who's just been found guilty of libel against a wealthy businessman. He's going to prison for three months, but not for another six months, and in the meanwhile he's offered a job trying to figure out the 40-year-old presumed murder of the niece of another millionaire, Henrik Vanger (Taube). He moves out to the little island where this all happened and starts digging into the pasts of some thoroughly unpleasant people.

Meanwhile, the titular girl, Lisbeth Salender (Rapace) is keeping tabs on him; she was originally paid to investigate him before Vanger hired him. She's a ward of the state, despite being a legal adult (Sweden must be more serious about making sure mentally ill folks get help than the US, not that that's a high bar), and her new guardian ambushes and rapes her. She then ambushes and assaults him, takes control of her finances, and gets back in the game, as it were; she goes out to Hedestad and joins up with Mikhael to figure this all out.

In the end, it turns out that the girl was alive, but her father and brother were serial killers and she killed her father and escaped to Australia with her cousin's help. And then Lisbeth robs the original evil businessman of a lot of money, and the movie ends.

Oy. Well, this version differs from the book in some key places, but I also understand that they filmed the whole trilogy back to back (and I've only read the first book so far). The performances, Rapace especially, are amazing, and I think her interpretation of Salender makes more sense than the American one. Not that the American version was bad, it's just a different take.

I think, though, that the American version might adapt the book a little better. This one simplified Mikhael a little too much (they completely omit his relationship with Erika Berger, for instance), and the American one felt more robust. Then again, I'm a huge Fincher fan, so there's that.

I'm looking forward to reading the other books so I can watch the other movies, anyway.

My Grade: B+
Rewatch value: Low

Next up: Glen or Glenda?