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Transferring international publishing phenomenon The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo to the big screen was always going to be tricky. The sprawling, complex plot and borderline selfish characters offered a challenge to represent on the big screen in a coherent and understandable fashion.
Perhaps somewhat against the odds, the writers and producers of this original Swedish adaptation have done an excellent job. The end result film is about as faithful a version as you could hope for. Whilst it might have been necessary to make compromises in some areas, It successfully takes the elements that made the book such a compelling read and recreates them on screen.
For the three of you that don't know, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo tells the tale of Mikael Blomqvist, a disgraced crusading journalist who is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of teenager Harriet Vangar, 40 years previously. To help him with the task, he ends up working with social misfit and hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander.
This is a pretty good example of how to take a book and translate it to the big screen. All the key elements of the original murder-mystery have been retained and, whilst the storytelling might not be quite so smooth, it remains a gripping and compelling tale. The slow-burning pace leaves plenty of time to build atmosphere, create a sense of intrigue and flesh out the characters. The central mystery is well constructed and the plotting generally well paced, quick enough to retain interest, but not so fast paced that plotting is done at the expense of character development.
Indeed, it's the characters who really make this film; particularly the central character of Lisbeth Salander. She should be a deeply unsympathetic character. Borderline violent, prickly and uncaring and with a deeply anti-social streak, she appears cold and removed, incapable of real emotion. Yet the role is carefully written so that the reason for her outlook understandable. This, in turn, creates a strong degree of sympathy for her.
The role is well captured by Noomi Rapace. Rapace makes Salander both self sufficient and deeply vulnerable. She engages the viewer's sympathies and you want to see her succeed, even when her methods and aims are not entirely legal or are morally dubious. Despite her difficult nature you want to see her not only survive, but thrive. Given how important Salander is to the plot, it was crucial for the viewer to have some degree of empathy with her, and Rapace does an excellent job of securing that.
Journalist Mikael Blomqvist is ostensibly the main character, but he is overshadowed by Salander, although he still plays a crucial role. Again, the casting agency have done a good job with Michael Nyqvist. Like Rapace, Nyqvist brings an earnest zeal and vulnerability to the role. Whilst he tends to rely a little bit on a single facial expression (downcast puppy dog), it's an expression which is well-suited to most of his scenes and helps the viewer sympathise with him.
Inevitably, some of the richness of the book is lost in the transition to the big screen. Several sub-plots are missing, whilst the role of some key characters in the book is reduced to almost zero in the film. This is entirely understandable and reflects the difference in format between book and film. Nothing essential is taken out and the plot still makes sense; it's just some of the richness has been lost. .
Having said that, I'm not sure that I would have wanted to watch this film without already having read the book. Although for the most part the plot is understandable, there are a few places where it leaps around a little and assumes at least some knowledge of the plot. A few scenes can initially be a little bit confusing if you are unaware of some of the background information from the book, whilst others seem to leap around, with little connection to what has happened before.
It also feels a little rushed towards the end; a torrent of events dealt with in a relatively short space of time. Mindful of its already fairly extended run time (152 minutes), the film ties up the various plots and subplots in a relatively short period of time, which doesn't perhaps do it justice. It just about gets away with it; but for those who have read the book it will feel slightly disappointing.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo also does not always make for comfortable viewing, either with a few sequences that are quite difficult to watch. Whilst these are essential to the plot and are handled as sensitively as possible, they still don't make for particularly pleasant viewing and if you are of a particularly sensitive nature, you might find them very disturbing.
Don't be put off by the fact that this is a Swedish language film with subtitles (although the DVD has the option for English language audio). For the most part, the subtitles are excellent with good use of English (both standard and colloquial). There is a slight issue that they are not set against a black background, so can sometimes get a bit lost in the colours of the film, but this is not too serious an issue.
Faced with a tricky - some might say impossible - task, the makers of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo have done an excellent job. They have taken Stieg Larsson's mammoth, complex book and come up with a strong adaptation. Yes, it might lack teh depth and complexity of the original source, but it's still an interesting and compelling story.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Running time: approx. 152 minutes
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
Harriet Vanger disappeared 40 years ago during a family get together on the island owned by her family.
Her uncle is convinced she was murdered that day and employs Mikael Blomkvist a journalist to investigate. Mikael is helped by Lisbeth Salander a computer hacker who is the girl with the dragon tattoo.
This review is of the Swedish version of this film. Based on a book by Stieg Larsson. This was filmed in 2010.
I am not really sure why but I had little interest in the book and the film so when my husband bought the DVD and asked me to watch it with him, I had no idea of the storyline and I think in a way that made the film more enjoyable as I had no idea what to expect.
This film took my breath away in lots of ways. The two main actors are superb , particularly Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth.
Noomi seems perfectly cast as Lisbeth who has been institutionalised in her past and is vulnerable to abuse in the present day. Her outward appearance and demeanour are tough and uncompromising, but she finds herself in situations where she is subjected to horrendous abuse .
She is monosyllabic in quite a few scenes but her performance is still extremely powerful as she manages to convey so much in her body language and facial expressions. She is a survivor though and a risk taker and comes into her own in several scenes, which I can't describe as I feel it would give too much away.
Her past is revealed in a series of brief flashbacks and clearly what has happened in the past is affecting her present situation as she has to report to a guardian. Some of the scenes featuring Lisbeth before she meets up with Mikael are really disturbing and I found them quite difficult to watch.
I thought Michael Nyquist gave a great performance too. He started out seeming quite bland but as he starts to investigate the disappearance and teams up with Lisbeth , he really started to grow on me. His performance is quite understated in comparison to Lisbeth and they make a perfect partnership.
The Vanger family are powerful and rich, but have a chequered history and several were members of the Nazi party. I am guessing that there is much more about each family member in the book , so I am looking forward to reading it.
The island where most of the film is set is beautiful. I always find myself wondering what era some Swedish films are set in , as there is usually a house or apartment that makes me think 1970's , the same with the fashion. But this is clearly set in the noughties and Apple must have been really pleased with all the free advertising they got in this film, as the Mac is another star in this film.
The story of what happens the day Harriet disappears is revealed from old photographs and it was fascinating to watch how the sequence of events plays out.
There are some extremely creepy and violent characters in this film and I really wanted them to get their comeuppance. I found myself having mixed feelings about Lisbeth mostly feeling sorry or admiration, but also feeling sickened by what she has done which is revealed in brief flashbacks.
This is a long film at 152 minutes but it didn't drag, it moved at the right pace for me. There were times when I was on the edge of my seat and there are many disturbing scenes of a violent and sexual nature which are really harrowing.
The only jarring note for me was the music, which I did not care for and seemed a little too obvious in places. I don't know who wrote the score, but I didn't think it fit with the style of film - my only criticism.
Would I Recommend
Yes absolutely but only if you like very long crime thriller films with subtitles.
An extremel;y powerful film with some very disturbing violence including graphic rape scenes. I felt uncomfortable watching these , but did feel they were integral to the film , but be warned as they happen at unexpected times, which makes them even more shocking.
My huband has read the book and normally will make comments when the film version adds or misses things, but he felt they did the book justice , even though they changed some elements of the story
A quality crime thriller with two brilliant lead actors - 5 stars from me. I can't wait to read the book and the others in the series.
Directed by Niels Arden Opley
Swedish with English subtitles
Available on DVD from Amazon currently £4.16
Before I started writing this I had a choice to make, should I review the book, the newer film with Daniel Craig or this Swedish film all around the same story? Well this won hands down!
I read the book first, which I really enjoyed. It was a little slow to start and had lots of characters and I found myself forgetting who was who. When I finished I thought it was brilliant and I wish there was a film of it...... cue Daniel Craig. Within weeks I saw an advertisement for the film in cinemas so I dashed off to see it. It was good but I left a little disappointed and felt it needed to be more detailed, quite a lot had been left out which was in the book and I felt it took away from the story ..... cue Film 4......
I saw The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo advertised on TV and thought it can't be on already it's only just in the cinema. So I checked the TV guide and was surprised to see that this was a Swedish version on the film which is subtitled and only released in 2009.
This put me off a little as I, a) am not a fan of subtitles and b) wondered why a newer version had to be done only two years after the first.
I decided after my disappointment of the latest one I would give it a go anyway..... I needn't have worried. I enjoyed it from start to finish and felt that it included all the detail and edge that the other was missing.
Admittedly, I had not heard of any of the cast of the film before. They were nominated for and won quite a few awards for their part in this though and deservedly so.
Noomi Rapace does a fantastic job of playing the main character Lisbeth Salander who is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I imagine it's quite hard to play such an awkward, at times aggressive and intimidating character whilst still getting the audience to grow to love her and she did it will.
Michael Nyqvist plays the other main character Michael Blomkvist. He also does a very good job, proving you don't need to be a Hollywood hunk to play a good character.
Sven Bertil-Taube plays the role of Henrik Vanger. He was also good the only thing I found was that he didn't seem as old and frail as the character in his 80's in the book who is trying to get the mystery solved before he dies. When I looked to see who this actor was I discovered he is actually 78 himself - looking good for it buddy!
Other cast members include:
Stefan Sauk as Hans Wennerstrom
Ingar Hirdwell as Dirche Frode
Peter Haber as Martin Vanger
Lena Endre as Erika Berger
Those are the main ones although there are plenty more.
The Storyline (trying not to give too much away)
Henrik Vanger has a family mystery that he has wanted solving for many years and as he is getting older and his health deteriorating decides it is time it got solved once and for all.
Michael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist who has found himself on the wrong end of a lawsuit and needs to take time away from the magazine he works for to avoid further damage to their reputation. Henrik Vanger decides that Blomkvist is the man that can help him with his family mystery and employs him to come and live in a remote area of Sweden to investigate the case further and get time out from his magazine scandal.
So where does the girl with the dragon tattoo come in........ Lisbeth Salander was an emloyee at a security company which Henrik Vanger used to do a check on Blomkvist before he hired him. She is a computer whizz and can hack into anybody's computers, bank accounts etc. in a few minutes.
Her mother is sick so she has been appointed a guardian, when this guardian is replaced, her new guardian takes over her finances and tries to control everything she does, only allowing her anything for sexual acts and abuses her...... she will get her revenge though.
Blomkvist finds the task of solving this mystery is going to be too big for him alone and Henrik Vanger suggests him taking on Lisbeth as his assistant. From here on we see a strange friendship blossom between the journalist and his peculiar assistant.
They are living on the Vanger estate whilst working on the case ( the setting is exactly how I had pictured it in my head after reading the book, even down to the details in the rooms) and meet the members of the Vanger family, the locals and the police trying to get assistance with the investigation.
Some people seem less than willing so help which makes it hard to figure out who has something to hide and I would imagine if you had not read the book it would really leave you guessing until the end.
After more computer hacking, some shooting, drugging and a car crash the pair manage to solve the case but I shall reveal no more than that.
It does have a good ending, you feel like the mystery has been solved but you're still left wanting more. You want to know what happened to the characters when it was all over? Did they go home and live normal lives or was everything changed forever?
Luckily there is another two to watch after this. The second is The Girl That Played With Fire (watching that tomorrow) and the final one is The Girl That Kicked The Hornet's Nest.
Cost - Unbelievable the cost to make this film was only 13 million dollars compared with the ridiculous 90 million spent on the more recent release the makers of this should be very happy.
Film Length - 152 minutes - I didn't notice the time passing at all!
Released - February 2009
The DVD is for sale on Amazon from £3.70 new or £13 new for the trilogy.
The film is certificate 18 and it really isn't one that you would want anybody younger to watch. There are some extremely disturbing scenes of sexual violence which most normal adults would find difficult to watch.
The only other negative is the subtitles, I'm just not a fan but it's not enough to be put off by as it's well worth watching. There is an option to watch it dubbed in English, but the cheerleader softly softly American voice they use for the main character is so unsuited to her character that it was just irritating!
Bring on part 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is a film review for the newest and English version of the film 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo'.
Having first read the book followed by watching the Swedish film I feel that I have gotten to know this story quite well.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo originated as a book by Stieg Larsson published in 2005, Larsson died in 2004 before publishing the trilogy of books which then went on to become best sellers in several European countries and the United States. The books were inspired by Larsson witnessing the gang rape of a fifteen year old girl called Lisbeth who then became one of the two main characters in this book / film.
The film stars Daniel Craig playing the character of Mikael Blomkvist, Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, Christopher Plummer as Henrik Vanger and a number of Swedish names.
Film summary (Minus any spoilers!)
Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish magazine Millennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström. He is sentenced to three months in prison, and ordered to pay hefty damages and costs. Soon afterwards, he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, who will not take no for an answer and summons Mikael, Mikael is unaware that Henrik had arranged an investigation into Blomkvist's personal and professional life. This was carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a surveillance agent with Milton Security, the best there is.
Blomkvist is promised considerable financial reward and evidence against Wennerström, in exchange for writing the Vanger family history. Henrik Vanger believes that his niece Harriet, was murdered by a member of the family 36 years earlier. Mikael Blomkvist moves temporarily into the Vanger estate and begins his research into the history of the Vanger family and Harriet's disappearance. The cover story that Mikael and Henrik use is that Mikael has been employed to document the family history, this is how he manages to question the family on each other and past events.
Lisbeth Salander, who is considered to hold no social skills whatsoever, was ruled legally incompetent as a child, and is under the care of legal guardian. In this film there is a particularly horrific rape scene in which Lisbeth is subjected to. This scene makes for really hard watching and especially in the cinema you can feel the tenseness of the audience but it really helps you to feel understanding of Lisbeth and her situation. I do feel however that it does go quite far and you feel quite uncomfortable during this scene but then again this shows how well it is acted and portrayed.
Blomkvist discovers that Lisbeth has hacked into his computer, and persuades her to assist him with researching Harriet's disappearance as he can see first hand how good her hacking and computer skills are. Together they work, piecing together the story at a realistic and believable pace until they happen upon a breakthrough.
I cannot go any further without giving crucial parts of the story away so I'll summerise by saying that having seen the Swedish version of the film and having read the book, this film is a very good adaptation. The acting by both Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara is believable and true to the original characters in the book. I will say that for anyone who hasn't read the book that the film can be quite hard to follow having quite a few characters mentioned within, you need to watch it closely and try to remember the Vanger family names to keep track!
I'd give this film 4 out of 5 Dooyoo stars as it loses one star for sometimes feeling quite rushed, even though the film runs for two and a half hours!
List of characters below (as you can see, there are quite a few to keep track of!) -
Mikael Blomkvist - A journalist, publisher and part-owner of the monthly magazine Millenium.
* Lisbeth Salander - A freelance surveillance agent and researcher, specializing in investigating people on behalf of Milton Security.
* Henrik Vanger - A retired industrialist and former CEO of Vanger Corporation.
* Gottfried Vanger - Martin and Harriet's deceased father.
* Isabella Vanger - Gottfried Vanger's wife and Martin and Harriet's mother.
* Harriet Vanger - Henrik's great-niece.
* Martin Vanger - Brother of Harriet and CEO of the Vanger Corporation.
* Cecilia Vanger - Daughter of Harald Vanger and one of Henrik's nieces.
* Anita Vanger - Cecilia's sister and one of Harriet's first cousins.
* Birger Vanger - Cecilia and Anita's brother.
* Hans-Erik Wennerström - A corrupt billionaire financier.
* Robert Lindberg - Banker and Blomkvist's provider of background to libellous feature.
* William Borg - Blomkvist's nemesis.
* Monica Abrahamsson - Blomkvist' wife whom he marries in 1986 and divorces in 1991.
* Pernilla Abrahamsson - Their daughter who was born in 1986.
* Holger Palmgren - Lisbeth Salander's lawyer and legal guardian.
* Nils Bjurman - Lisbeth Salander's legal guardian and lawyer after Palmgren.
* Erika Berger - Editor-in chief and majority owner of Millennium monthly magazine. She is a long time on/off lover of Blomkvist.
* Dirch Frode - Former lawyer for Vanger Corporation, now lawyer with one client: Henrik Vanger.
* Dragan Armansky - CEO and COO of Milton Security.
* "Plague" - Computer/hacker genius.
* Christer Malm - Director, art designer and part-owner of Millennium.
* Janne Dahlman - Managing editor of Millenium.
* Gustaf Morell - A retired Detective Superintendent.
* Anna Nygren - Henrik Vanger's house keeper.
* Gunnar Nilsson - Henrik's caretaker.
I tend to catch onto trends a bit later than most, but I was given a paperback copy of the Girl with The Dragon Tattoo in 2010 for my birthday. After telling my sister how I was captivated by it, she got me a copy of the DVD for my Christmas present, which I have only just got round to watching while we were away last week.
It's been a while since I personally read the book. My husband has been reading it more recently as he knew we were going to watch the film while we were away, and all our friends and family who had been exposed to both versions said that the book was a lot better than the film, which is something I wholeheartedly agree with. Not that the film is a bad one, just that the book is so much more detailed and gives you a much more thorough guide to the characters and why they act as they do compared to the film. My husband had only read a few chapters, and he said already in such a small part of the book he could see how much had been left out to make it into a film. With a running time of 152 minutes, you can see why it has been done, but it doesn't necessarily make you appreciate it.
For the benefit of anyone who has not come across the trilogy of books by Stieg Larsson (also known as the Millenium trilogy - the name of the magazine that the main character writes for), they are based around 2 main characters. Mikael Blomkvist is a divorced middle aged journalist with a teenage daughter. And Lisbeth Salander, a very disturbed woman of 24, who works in Private Investigation.
In Book One of the trilogy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, We are first introduced to Blomkvist. He is on trial for libel because of a story he was working on for the Millenium magazine. He is looking to have some time away from the magazine to protect its reputation.
At the same time, someone has asked Salander to investigate Blomkvist. She is basically a hacker, and is convinced that he is innocent of libel at least.
Blomkvist is hired by a prominent Swedish businessman, Henrik Vanger. The man is now in his 80s, but he has been plagued for 40 years by the murder of his niece, Harriet, and the mysterious presents that arrive every year on his birthday. He asks Blomkvist to investigate this disappearance in a last bid attempt to solve the mystery before he dies. In the book, he is asked to do this under the pretext of writing the family memoirs, but in the film this subterfuge was not clear to me.
When he hits difficulties, he is introduced to the loner, Salander, who then helps him solve this mystery, but the family secrets that come tumbling out might have been better left hidden.
The plot as written by the now deceased Larsson has been described by some as a bit fanciful and self indulgent, with him being a middle aged journalist, and his main character Blomkvist having the same role. In the book, he is some kind of lothario, being the serial adulterer with his married partner at the magazine, then having an affair with one of the Vanger woman, and also with Salander herself even though she is a vulnerable character and only about 7 years older than his own daughter. This has been criticised, and I can see why as it detracts a bit from the plot, and in my head almost feels a bit predatory and almost paedophilic because Salander is so child like and vulnerable, and Blomkvist is otherwise not like this at all.
In my head, my pictures of the characters were that he was older than how he was portrayed by the actor Michael Nyqvist in the film. Salander I had also pictured as having an even more petite figure, and with all the facial piercings in the film, she came across as a bit older and less naive to me. The actress Noomi Rapace did play her well through some very difficult scenes, but I was left with less distaste at her bedding Blomkvist than I was with reading the novel.
If I take away the fact that I have read the book and this did spoil it a bit for me by thinking about what had been missed out, then the film has been superbly shot by Scandinavian actors. We could watch it with either English dubbing or subtitles. I chose dubbing as we were watching it on my husband's laptop, and though it was slightly out of kilt with the lip movements of the actors, within minutes of starting to watch it I could forget about that and concentrate on the story and the high quality acting, especially from the main characters.
Although the running time was long, I was not left fidgety by the end of the film like I have been during other long films. There was enough to keep me engrossed in the plot. I did feel that sometimes the plot moved along to a conclusion a bit too quickly, and this would have benefitted in having a bit more of the explanation from the book, but I can't think how they could do this without adding about half an hour to the film.
It has a much deserved 18 rating because it is quite a dark film. The way Lisbeth is treated and subsequently acts is pretty disturbing, and I think if this had been released in say the 1970s, you could have had it classed like A Clockwork Orange with a ban for its content because I find it as shocking in places. My husband said to me that he wasn't sure he wanted to read all the book if this was how dark it was.
I am left a bit unsure how to rate the film. The book I would not hesitate to give 5 stars to. The film is poor only because I am comparing it to reading the book, so perhaps I would have said somewhere round 3.5, but the quality of acting is such that I feel I should go towards 4 rather than 3. It is definitely worth watching, but one to give your full concentration to in my opinion or you might find yourself a bit lost.
Although having read some good reviews before watching this, I wasn't expecting much but thankfully I was wrong. Completely wrong.
Having not read the books I didn't know the ins and outs of the storyline before watching it. For some reason I had a misconception that this film would be aimed more at a young female audience (probably because of the title) but this is far from some straight forward crime thriller. It contains scenes of sexual violence which was unexpected but the plot has depth. The casting is great as the actors capture the essence of the characters well and keep you gripped throughout. The DVD contains both dubbed and subtitled versions of the Swedish film as well as an original version. I find reading subtitles can take away your attention from both the storyline and the acting so watched the dubbed version. However due to the quality of the voice overs I wish I'd watched it with subtitles as I found that sometimes the voices lacked emotion and character.
Daniel Craig is starring in a Hollywood remake which is due for release later this year. I can only hope that it is anywhere near as good as this original version.
The film was based on a book which was originally written in Swedish and titled Man Som Hatar Kvinnor, Men Who Hate Women. A very appropriate title considering the film is basically about how women are treated (in the circle of characters); it contains rape, violence, incest and sexism around every corner (well, incest around only one corner).
You have to appreciate this film for what it is, not as a comparison to the book which I will try to refrain from doing until the end. I think it is important to review it as a film on its own and briefly at the end for the people who have read the book or want to.
This film is about how computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who has been declared incompetent, joins forces with Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist recently convicted of libel, to solve the mystery of missing Harriet Vanger. Harriet went missing when she was 16 years old, 40 years prior, leaving no trace. No one even knew how she got off the island because the only thing connecting Hedestad to the mainland was a bridge which was blocked (due to an oil spill from an overturned lorry) and rammed with people on the day of her disappearance. So the only logical explanation was to assume she was dead, not just dead, murdered. Her uncle, Henrik, phones Blomkvist in his dark hour knowing full well having just been convicted of libel, he would struggle to regain his reputation and credibility. Henrik offers him a year long job in freezing Hedestad, he asks him to go over the old police reports from Harriet's case and try to find out what happened to her. He offers him an obscene amount of money and in the end Blomkvist cannot turn it down. Henrik is hell bent on proving she was murdered and better yet, find the murderer. The reason for this is, as seen in the opening scene, he receives framed flowers every year on his birthday just like Harriet used to give. He is convinced the murderer is taunting him and he cannot rest until he knows what happened to her.
Getting deeper and deeper into the case, strange things start happening in Hedestad and there's only so far Mikael and Lisbeth can investigate before putting themselves in danger. They must be getting close?
Lisbeth being incompetent basically means she cannot look after herself properly and needs someone 'sane' to oversee how she lives.This person is called a guardian. She's not allowed to go abroad on her own or control her own finances. Throughout the film you will see that she is definitely not incompetent but you have to watch the three films to find out how she got into the place she is in.
Interview with Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander). I thought Noomi, for some reason, would speak fabulous English with no hint of a Swedish accent but I was wrong. She found it hard to retrieve the appropriate word from her memory and stammered quite a bit. The interview was very good though and she seems very sweet. Director's interview also included and the Vanger family tree.
I watched the entire film in Swedish because I cannot stand lips not syncing with sound and I learn Swedish so it was only expected to watch it på Svenska. You can watch it with English audio or with Swedish audio and English subtitles.
As a film it is fabulous and the actors/actresses are incredible. There are some parts where you will possibly think 'What?'. One being the introduction to Erika, which wasn't an intro, just a line of script. I made the mistake of watching the film first and I wondered who the heck she was. She chases after Blomkvist who has just been found guilty of libel, she has an impact on him and him on her but you still watch thinking 'Who IS she?' and you never really know. There are also a lot of loose ends in the film alongside this but not too noticeable, just people with small roles who do not make an impact thought you know they're there for a reason. The more I watch it, the more I am fighting for women. To be honest, if you knew me, you'd know I hate women myself. Hate is a strong word, I dislike most women. Mostly from my own generation and the one above.. The reason being the last two generations have produced b*tches for women. Gossips, ditzy and unambitious women who thrive on bringing other women down. Plus a lot are loud and care solely (note that word) about clothes and hair. Though after studying motor vehicle for two years and engineering before that you realise what really goes on in male minds. They genuinely think we were put on the Earth to work for them and this film only highlights that issue.
I thoroughly empathised with Lisbeth because she is an outcast, she looks different and is different in the mind. I am openly honest like her (when I do let rip) and sometimes reclusive for nothing, I am heavily tattooed like her and my chest is very (very) petite like hers. Just like her my barriers go up before anyone has tried to break them down. So for me, the film was fantastic because I could empathise. If any woman has so much has attempted to do a man's job and been laughed at then you will find this film moving. If any foreign woman is an immigrant and got taken advantage of (for any reason) then you will also find it moving.
PLEASE do note I am not applying the above opinion to all women but with my generation being the main culprit I have been surrounded by this attitude my whole life. I have met a lot of fantastic women who wish people nothing but happiness but unfortunately these are few and far between.
*Comparison to the book!*
Well Noomi Rapace is 5'5" whereas Lisbeth Salander was described as being childishly small. The producers changed a lot of the plot and twisted the story. For example, Erika Berger is given about three lines in the film and she is a major character in the book. Blomkvist sleeps with Cecilia Vanger but the most ever indicated of this in the film is that they both met each others gaze for a second. Harriet Vanger's hair was dark brown when she was younger, then she dyed it blonde then returned to brown again. In the film she has blonde hair throughout. If you have read the story or intend to then you see why her hair colour is rather important. Lisbeth and Mikael are harassed through the film by someone anonymous and they also explore the case for Harriet more in the book. These bits are cut out of the film. Mikael is a big man wh*re, there doesn't seem to be a woman who comes into his line of sight that he doesn't sleep with, but the film shows him as being a sweet and innocent man.
The film also shows that Lisbeth discovered and deciphered the bible quotes, when in the book it was Mikael Blomkvist's daughter who is omitted from the film entirely. Erika Berger spends some time in the house he is staying in and makes very good friends with Henrik Vanger, this is also omitted from the film.
Available for under a tenner on most online websites. Play and Amazon etc. Also available to 'watch online' for about £4 on LOVEFiLM. Available to rent on iTunes and to buy on iTunes in both English and Swedish audio as well as HD and normal format.
Released July '10, CERT 18.
Mikael is a journalist who has been given a prison sentence for running a story on a high powered business man as they claim it is all lies, he gets given 6 months before having to serve his sentence. He does the right thing and steps down from the magazine he writes for and it is not long before he is offered a new job.
Lisbeth is a computer hacker who works for a company who have recommended Mikael for a detective job, she believes that he is innocent and has been framed for his recent crimes. She is able to hack into all of his computer and see all his files and fully backs her decision that he is the man for the job.
Mikael is called to investigate a disappearance which happened 40 years ago. A large wealthy family who have lots of problems and secrets had a young girl go missing and they believe she is dead. It is the girls, Harriet's uncle who asks for Mikael to find out what really happened to her.
Mikael accepts the job and soon his leads come to a standstill, that is until Lisbeth hacks his computer and sends him help. Mikael tracks her down and soon she is helping him with his investigation. Just what will the pair uncover about the disappearance of Harriet and is a family member really connected to it?
I have only given a really brief outline for the plot for this film as I don't wish to give away any spoilers for those who may not have watched the film or read the book yet, there is a lot more to the story so please don't think it is a as basic as I have made it out to be. I did not fully know what to expect from this film but decided to give it a watch as it has been given excellent reviews. I am pleased to say that both me ad hubby thought this was an excellent film but we did find it was very gruesome in places and I felt some of the sexual scenes were quite unnecessary. The story was told to us in an excellent way which kept me guessing right to the end of the film. I though I had worked out who the killer was and how he had done it but I was so far off the mark, I enjoyed this fact as it meant the film was not at all predictable. I did think we had a few small unnecessary side stories which did quite disturb me at times but overall the story was excellent.
The acting was also very good, the role of Mikael was played by Michael Nyqvist and he did a very good job. He was a very strong character and I felt I got to know a lot about him. He came across as honest and genuine and very good at his job. I felt there were a few times when he could have been more emotional and giving with his feelings but overall he played a great part. The role of Lisbeth was a more complicated one, she was a tough young lady and I felt she was holding a lot back at times. We did get to see her being treated very badly at the start of the film and in a way this did help me to understand her way of thinking but I don't think we needed as much detail in these scenes as what we did get. The flash backs we got from her also gave her an air of mystery and I was always wondering what happened to her in her past to make her the way she is today. She gave a good performance and I felt she handled the story and all of her lines very well.
We did have some very good support actors but none of them really stood out and all of Harriet's family members all seemed to blend into one.
The film was a thriller and I did get this right from the start of the film, there were a few jumpy moment but it was not at all scary. There were a lot of disturbing scenes which I was not expecting and these involved seeing photographs of murder victims who had been mutilated and hung, I felt the attention to detail was excellent but I don't think we needed to see as many as we did and the majority of it could have been left to our imaginations. The special effects and makeup used on the victims was of a very high standard and I think a lot of credit should be given to the creators of this. We do have a few special effects in the film and they fitted in very well and were well made.
The setting for the film was Sweden and I got a very good feel for the country and way of life form how it came across in the film. We did have the majority of the film set in the snow and cold areas and I loved seeing how dense and baron the land could be compared to the fast paced cities. I loved the setting and as a result we did get one or two lovely scenery shots. The film is set in Sweden and we do have the option of watching this in the native language on the DVD but we opted for the English speaking version which meant the lips sync was out all the way through but after a few minutes we did manage to forget this and just enjoy what we were watching. I felt the music was also very good and fitting for the film, there was a definite orchestral feel to the majority of it and I felt it helped with the drama and tension of the film. I was always able to tell when something bad was about to happen from then music!
This film is based on a best selling book but unfortunately I have not read this so I cannot make any comparison between the two.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus features. I have not watched these so I cannot make comment on them but I will include them in my review for those who like these features so then you can decide if you wish to purchase the DVD or wait to watch the film on the TV. What we get as standard on the DVD is:-
Exclusive sneak peak of the Girl who Played with fire, Interviews with Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander) and Producer Soren Staermose, Photo gallery and more, Includes both original Swedish version and English language versions.
The DVD cast me just £5 from Asda and I felt this to be a very good price. The running time of the film is 152 minutes and before watching I felt this was going to be overly long but once I really got into the story I forgot about the run time and just got so into the story I never gave the time a second thought. The rate is an 18 as there are scenes of sexual violence and I do definitely agree with the rate as even I found some of the scenes disturbing.
I am happy to give this film the full 5 stars despite the few flaws I have mentioned. The story and acting was excellent and I think it is well worth a watch and paying for the DVD. There are some gruesome parts but the strength of the story still makes this film worthy of the full 5 stars.
Controversial investigative journalist Mikael Blomvist (Michael Nyqvist) loses a libel case a powerful industrialist and faces jail time. Meanwhile, and unbeknown to him, Mikael is under investigation himself by a brilliant young computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). Lisbeth has been employed by a lawyer who works for the hugely powerful Vanger group, a family run industry with a shady past. Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) employs Mikael for the short period before his intended incarceration to investigate the disappearance of a member of the family, Harriet. Henrik believe she has been murdered.
After her paid investigation Lisbeth continues to be interested in Mikael's activities. However, she has issues of her own. A mysterious and troubled background resulted in Lisbeth spending a good deal of her childhood in psychiatric care. Now aged 24 she suddenly finds herself at the mercy of a sexually sadistic probationary guardian. Lisbeth will have to deal with him before she gets involved with the twisted and shocking Vagner mystery...
Let's face it, before "Let the Right One In" the average Brit or American's knowledge of Sweden was limited to ABBA, IKEA, the chef from The Muppets and a liberal attitude to sex. Some of us had seen "My Life as a Dog" and probably thought ourselves very cosmopolitan, but on the whole it was silly Hale and Pace gags about saunas. And we should really be ashamed. Sweden has a much neglected array of filmmaking talent and they are hopefully beginning to get the global recognition they deserve.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is, of course, based on the first instalment of Stieg Larrson's posthumously published bestselling Millennium trilogy. The sequels have been made virtually back-to-back, all in Sweden with a Swedish cast. Most of those involved with the filming were fans of the original material, including Noomi Rapace who had the unenviable role of trying to bring to life the book's hugely popular heroine. I confess to not having read any of the books yet, so I can only grade her performance on its merits within the film. I am happy to say that she does well to portray a complex, mysterious and yet deeply sympathetic role. I can certainly see the appeal of the character. Lisbeth is just the sort of paradox we need in our action thrillers and she is streets ahead of the patronizing two dimensional "girl power" archetypes that Hollywood keep vomiting forth in their action adventures and thrillers. At the beginning it feels like we are in a Marquis de Sade novel with the violence and sexual abuse she suffers, but this quickly turns around to reveal her tough, resourceful and intelligent nature.
Despite being largely driven by Lisbeth character, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" does not rest its whole structure on her biography. In fact, this is a mere sub-plot to the main mystery that involves the film's other main character, Mikael. He also has an interesting back-story, which is the key to his motives behind taking on the investigation, but despite Michael Nyqvist getting top billing over Rapace it is clear where our interests are drawn. Nevertheless, the actual mystery is a strong one and its conclusion can only be reached if you ask the right question. For me, this type of plot twist distinguishes the best from the rest.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a well-acted, sharply directed and superbly produced action mystery that takes risks rarely seen within the genre. Hollywood, take note! Perhaps they have. The American remake of this film is due out soon. I was immediately repelled by the idea, but there are encouraging signs. It is being filmed in Sweden and Daniel Craig is to play Mikael. We shall see.
The film can be seen in the original Swedish with subtitles or dubbed. The DVD I saw offered either choice. I watched half it dubbed and half of it in Swedish - I watched half the film at night and other in the morning. Anyway, if you can watch it in the original language despite the dubbing being quite adequate.
I read the trillogy of these books over the summer and managed to get through all three of them within two weeks as i was so hooked! The books to me were rather graphic, especially the first one, so i was not sure what to expect with the film. However, i actually found that the film was much less graphic and tamer than the books, perhaps partly to do with your own imagination. I found that the film followed the storyline very well and unlike many films develpoed from books, it stayed comfortabley true to the book. The portrayal of the female protagonist was very similar to how i imagined her in reading the book, and the same goes for the detective, though not exactly how i pictured him to look (but being a female, we cant help imagining a sexy and attractive male protagonist i think) but all in all i think its a definate watch and do not let the fact that it is in another language put you off, that is what subtitles are for and if you struggle with subtitles, there is a setting so that you can have an english voice over.
I actually had not read the book before watching this movie, although my partner had, and (based on her inability to put it down on a long journey to Devon and back) I was pretty excited when it arrived in the post. On starting this movie you will be asked to make a choice - "To use subtitles, or not to use subtitles"... Now, I generally quite like foreign films and don't mind reading the subtitles at all but I opted for the dubbed version. MISTAKE. I persevered for a while but soon went back and changed to the Swedish - and then I really began to enjoy this movie.
It is a thriller, and a dramatic (if at times gruesome) one at that! The story twists and turns like the proverbial dragon and takes you down an increasingly darkening road until the almost unbelievable finale. I was hooked from the very opening and really felt an empathy for the extremely believable characters. I was torn between the supercool Blomkvist and the ice cold Salander; both are excellently portrayed by a cast which (for once!) does not draw on the dregs of Hollywood!
On this point; the cast is excellent. All the characters retain a real depth and this is due to the ultimate movie triumvirate of excellent acting, an awesome script (backed up by a haunting location/soundtrack) and a truly excellent plot.
Having watched this movie I have read both of the remaining books in the "Millennium Trilogy"; I felt that I was totally knowledgeable of the plot preceding these novels and this is testament to the manner in which the film stays true to Larssons's story.
My only criticism is that perhaps the story is a little complex for some viewers and certainly a little gruesome for many. Watch with caution!
Most modern women live a life where they are told they can have it all yet don't realize they don't really want that until it's too late, the realization of working full-time until your 60 with no kids and a loving husband to cuddle up to no longer appealing. Women's biological clocks can't be wound back like the milometers in some dodgy East End forecourt and so they need to exploit their prime years. But what if you were bought up around abusive men and so can only contemplate that life, independence and so emancipation your route to freedom, the obvious appeal of Stieg Larsson's tribute to those girls who are told they can have it all.
There's more than hint of feminism about his books and he did manage to pen three more before he died in 2004, the so-called 'Millennium Trilogy', the sequel to this one,' The Girl Who played with Fire', already out in Sweden on film. Somewhat annoyingly there is already an ill thought out Hollywood remake of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' heading for our cinemas soon. Its quite bizarre how quick remakes of good foreign movies come out these days and we have already seen the English language remake of the excellent Swedish vampire movie 'Let the Right One In' hit American multiplexes less than a year after the original was released, all very patronizing if you ask me. It's as if Hollywood feels we are too stupid to grasp clever foreign movies and so should be spoon fed their 'dumbed' down versions of. These films are hits because they are rare films aimed at an intelligent European audience and the idea of a cheesy remake is silly as their clearly is no new audience.
Michael Nyqvist ... Mikael Blomkvist
Noomi Rapace ... Lisbeth Salander
Lena Endre ... Erika Berger
Sven-Bertil Taube ... Henrik Vanger
Peter Haber ... Martin Vanger
Ewa Fröling ... Harriet Vanger
Marika Lagercrantz ... Cecilia Vanger
Peter Andersson ... Nils Bjurman
Ingvar Hirdwall ... Dirch Frode
Björn Granath ... Gustav Morell
Michalis Koutsogiannakis ... Dragan Armanskij
Annika Hallin ... Annika Giannini
Sofia Ledarp ... Malin Eriksson
Punk Gothenburg computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is a damaged young lady and clearly hates men and authority, and through her back story has every reason to, seemingly abused by everyone who crosses her path, including her latest legal guardian and sponsor Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson), who can't wait to get his hands on her for a bit of sadistic sexual blackmail. If he doesn't get what he wants, he knows on his say so, Lisbeth will be back inside the secure young offenders unit she has just be released from into his care.
Our second protagonist is troubled left wing journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), the celebrated editor of 'Millennium Magazine', just suffering a huge libel hit and so sentenced to three months in jail, his investigation of a dodgy multimillionaire (Hans-Erik Wennerström) costing him his liberty for probing too deep into the Swedish Military Industrial Complex.
Having to step down from the magazine he created takes up a private freelance job in the icy tundra's of northern Sweden to try and keep the money coming in, his job working for 'Henrik Vanger' (Sven-Bertil Taube) of the influential Swedish Vanger dynasty, the type of bourgeois family Blomkvist is usually trying to discover corruption in. His mission is to discover who is sending the old man pressed flowers on the birthday of his missing, believed dead, beautiful daughter Harriet, who hasn't been seen for twenty-five-years, Henrik feeling like he is being taunted by the killer with the flowers all these years on, Blomkvist the man to solve the mystery.
After Lisbeth deals with her perverted guardian like only Lisbeth can, her world is about to collide with Blomkvist when she decides to covertly aid his investigation into the missing Vanger daughter, her online computer skills the help Blomkvist will need. He has no idea who his secret helper is as the intrigue deepens but inevitably she tracks up to see him, curiosity getting the better of her, a rare case of a man she feels she can trust, her equally private investigations of his legal case proving he was set up and so a man worth helping. As the mystery of Harriet's disappearance stretches through the decades to the present today, Nazi sects, religious text and mysterious numbers at the heart of it, maybe for Lisbeth the search is just as much about the intriguing mystery as it is her salvation to find the old mans daughter and bring justice to both Blomkvist and Vanger...
Watching this is like peeping into your sister's diary, a very private and emotive movie that is 100% about being a woman and getting back at men, all the more odd as Stieg Larsson is a geezer. But intelligent women seem to love his stories and his Virginia Wolfe style of writing clearly resonates with them. If you haven't read the book then the intriguing narrative here is suitably engaging, a stylish mystery that both conforms to the genre and departs from it in interesting ways. But if you have read the book and enjoyed it the I expect you wont be so keen.
The acting is top notch, as it is with most European movies we get to see, Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth particularly good, perhaps the saving grace of the movie for the purists. Scandinavians movies, of course, are always atmospheric in their own unique way as you can jump form your normal urban sprawl to those misty enchanted forests that lip the North Pole lands of glaciers and insomnia.
The film is violent, at times not needed, but you must believe Lisbeth is at the end of her tether to be seduced by her struggle. Like I said if you haven't read the book then the mystery will involove you in the film and it builds nicely to its reveal, although the ending a little silly when it arrives, more suited to Hollywood than elite European contemporary literature, I suspect tweaked for that reason. But that aside I enjoyed the flow of the film and there are no obvious giveaways early on to hint at the twists to come and so it is left to you to uncover the mystery of Harriet along with our two heroes, which is kind of refreshing. All this is washed over with an evocative soundtrack and intelligent scripting and makes for an interesting and reasonably enthralling movie. There is a dubbing option on the DVD if you can't be bothered with the subtitles but that always takes away a certain something from a good foreign movie and so makes it feel a weaker experience, which this is not when seen correctly.
Quickfix Magazine - "Do people love the original book so much they're willing to forgive a film that is sorely lacking in substance, motivation, action, tension, ambiguity and style"
The Times - "Fans of the book have been disappointed in this workmanlike adaptation, but coming to it with no expectations it is quite involving... "
The Age - "An engaging thriller that makes the most of its complex characters, [but] it's still not as good as the book".
Imdb.com 7.7/10.0 (31,298 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 86% approval rate
Metacritic.com -76% approval rate
= = = = Special Features = = = =
Cast & crew talk about the celebrated book and flawed movie.
-Vanger Family Tree-
For the book fans there is a chance to look at the roots of the mystery of the trilogy more.
-Sneak preview of the unreleased sequel-
= = = = = = = = = = =
The Swedes have made another great film then. I had wanted to see this for a long time and finally got around to it and pretty glad I did so to. Paced perfectly with a running time that at around two and half hours never feels too long. It's disturbing (some of the scenes are certainly NOT for the feint hearted!) and gripping and looks great, has a certain old school feel in places that I liked. It has a bit of the film Noir feel to it, like Chinatown maybe, oldschool but stylish. They are currently making an american english language version of this film which would fill me with all kinds of trepidition if not for the fact that David Fincher is on board. My thoughts would be that with Fincher on board it may well be more of a reworking that a remake and hence may be worth your attention. My suggestion would be see the original and then probably see the Fincher version afterwards. I'm not sure about the choice of Daniel Craig in the lead though. Noomi Rapace is simply superb in the female lead so whoever they get to play her character in the American version is going to have to be on their game.
On the back of this excellent film I am looking forward to watching the sequel 'The girl who played with fire' very much and the third film 'The girl who kicked the hornets nest' although unfortunately both have a different director to the first film...
It's not often that I come across a film to review and have an option of three different ways of reviewing it. The hype surrounding Stieg Larsson's
Millenium Trilogy, and in particular The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (as the first instalment) is hard to avoid, and with movie goers now able to experience the DVD as opposed to reading the book, its hype will no doubt continue to increase. As I write this, the second of the three films is scheduled for release quite soon, I believe, and having watched the first film after reading the book, I am very much looking forward to doing the same with the second and indeed the third.
A bit of plot
Essentially, the basics show us that we have a mystery/thriller on our hands, and the film wastes no time at getting down to the matter at hand. After a brief introduction of about 5 or 10 minutes, which covers probably 150 pages of the book or so, we find out the basis for the main plot of the film: disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is contacted by eccentric former CEO of the Vanger Corporation to solve a decades old missing person mystery.
Let me explain
A pause for a moment, while I try to explain my dilemma in reviewing this. I am a firm believer in the importance of book plots and their various subplots. I believe they make a huge difference to the story. So, whenever a book is made into a film, I always manage to find a bit of grievance when it comes to the transfer from paper to screen: something is always lost. However, occasionally there is a book which loses a lot of its subplots only to reappear as a very good film. Add into the mix the foreign film element, with alternative language audio and extras, and there you have the three reviewing options: film of the book; film in its own right and own language; or film with dubbed language. The last two may seem rather the same, but this very much depends on the quality of the subtitles and the dubbing audio. As you'll see, this made quite a difference with this film.
1) The film of the book
If I were to compare the film to the book, I'd have to admit my annoyance at some of the bigger subplots being completely ignored. I understand the difficulty in cramming 500 or so pages into a 2 hour or thereabouts film: something has to be left out in order for this to be possible. However, there were many elements of the book which carried quite strong relevance to the main plot, and I felt these were left out. Our journaist, Blomkvist, finds himself right at the centre of the mysterious disappearance of Harriet, one of the Vanger family, many years ago, with the former CEO, Henrik Vanger, the one who is obsessed with finding out what happened to her. The book manages to fully develop relations between Blomkvist, hostile or romantic and everything in between, and the Vangers, giving great detail to the male/female relationship psychology Larsson was obviously hinting at.
This is further added to in the book by the inclusion of the book's most enigmatic and memorable character, Lisbeth Salander. She is the titular heroine, and is a reclusive woman that the court has ruled needs help with her day to day living, at least financially and socially. This is never really made clear in the film, although I must say that the scenes between her and her new 'guardian', Nils Bjurman, are very powerfully filmed, and do stay true to the book. However, what you gain from these scenes are then sort of lost when it comes to her involvement in the actual mystery. For a start, her reasons for becoming involved and the way it develops are changed for the film, which take away from her lackadaisical 'I'll do what I want' attitude, and speak more of a curiosity than a choice.
The resultant effect for me, as someone who found the book incredibly well researched and developed in terms of character and plot, was that the characters weren't strong enough and the plot missed some of the deeper, more embedded elements that lent their power to the finale. Events do develop at quite a rate, as is necessary given the time constraints, and this is where the second way of reviewing might come into play.
2) A film in its own right, in its own language
As a film in its own right, the pace, setting, characters and plot are all very good indeed. I can easily see how someone who hadn't read the book would easily become engrossed in the film, loving the characterisation of the random Lisbeth, the charming and calm Mikael and the very strange Vanger family. The bits missing from the book will go unnoticed, and the flow will defy the 130 minutes or so the film lasts for, passing by in a flash and making it seem more like an hour and a half.
Casting is good, whichever way you look at it, having read the book or not. Noomi Rapace must take the limelight for her portrayal of Lisbeth. In this respect, I could really appreciate how much of herself she must have put into exploring the character and trying to recreate her for the screen. In many ways, Rapace IS Lisbeth, and really does appear exactly as I would have imagined her to be. The pain and passion is done very well, the facial expressions and near insolent attitude down to a T, and the fashion sense and makeup perfect.
In contrast, Blomkvist is very normal. Larsson does portray him as Joe Bloggs, a very normal person who happens to be a journalist and is called upon by someone who has followed his work and wants him to help out. Michael Nyqvist is very good casting as Blomkvist, and oozes screen presence just enough without being a big headed Hollywood type. When the two of them are on screen together, the contrasts slot together very well and the comfort sets in. When they are apart, the actors are visibly more nervy and edgy, which does reflect the characters in the book. Great stuff.
The supporting cast is also well chosen, although the majority of the book revolves more around the two main characters, and descriptions aren't quite as forthcoming. Even so, I felt that visually and in terms of attitude, they got the majority of them right. A few tense moments later on in the film weren't quite performed as powerfully as the book would have you expect, but as a film in its own right, it's well in balance with the pace of the film and the dark tension.
The setting is done beautifully. My biggest worry was that all of the wonderfully described scenery of the island of Hedeby where the Vanger clan live wouldn't be done justice by the film, but although a certain amount of artistic licence has been used, the beauty is breathtaking, and the scene that count are very well done indeed. The music hovers around in the right atmosphere from start to finish, and credit for all of this must go to Niels Arden Oplev, who is developing quite a name for himself over the past few years.
By the same praise, the same director must also take the responsibility for leaving out some of the more relevant subplots, as well, and as I have already touched on these, it only remains for me to point out that he is both a genius and a ruthless script cutter in my eyes. I understand the ruthlessness of Oplev as well as the numerous scriptwriters they had working on this, but still feel slighted they left some stuff out.
3) For us English speakers
Not sure that Oplev can be blamed for my disappointment at the last way of reviewing this film, though, and this relates to showing this originally Swedish film to an English speaking audience. If I hadn't read the book, and was Swedish, I would be raving about how damn good this film is. As someone who has read the book and is expecting content that never appears or is changed, then disappointment is more of the call, despite the skill levels in front of and behind the camera. However, as an English speaker wanting a supposed Swedish masterpiece to be put in a way I can understand it, I am rather confused.
I have watched this film twice now, both on the DVD. When you first pop it in, you get two options come up: you can watch it in original Swedish but with English subtitles, or you can watch it with an English dubbed audio. I much prefer original language films with subtitles, as I feel you lose some of the acting and presence during the film with dubbed language. This stems from watching Back to the Future in French: Christopher Lloyd would shudder if he watched it! Dragon Tattoo in its original language certainly does hold the tone and pose of the characters, as well as some of the timing elements, but what I was confused by were some of the subtitles. At parts it seemed to not make much sense, and upon checking, it seems that there were many mistakes within it, and paraphrasing far too often. I was annoyed as well, as this gave the impression that even more of the book had been left out, when in reality it was translation for the subtitles that weren't given a full and deserving attention. There is no excuse for this, and at parts there were glaring spelling and punctuation errors, which do bug me when someone is obviously being paid a lot of money to do something like this.
In similar fashion, the dubbing was rather poor. I felt they got the voices of Mikael and Lisbeth all wrong, and some whiny male voices elsewhere in the casting were just out of sync and hard to follow. I find it hard when watching Asian martial arts films, for example, where the dubbing is so obvious that you forget about the plot and focus on the random words compared to the movements of the characters' mouths on screen; and this was exactly how it felt here, with over zealous and fake voice actors not really getting a grip of how things need to be presented. I was disappointed.
Another poor effect the dubbing had was that it didn't allow for lossless sound. This meant that at times when the dialogue was dubbed over, some backing sound such as atmospheric music was also lost. This was particularly important towards the end of the film, and was rather annoying. At least the extras featured on the DVD were okay, if somewhat stingy. Pick of the bunch is probably an interview with Noomi Rapace, where you get to see what she's like without Lisbeth's makeup and hair: it's quite a difference, and the actress is charming, revealing some insight into the film. There's also a brief intro to the second film, out soon, as well as a full trailer of it.
So, how to choose on a rating?
However much I'm annoyed at the subtitles or dubbing that let this down; and no matter how much of a book snob I am to want every little detail come into play, I can't help but focus on the middle of the three ways I have tried to review this: as a film in its own right and in its own language. I can't get over the acting and the way the pace of the film works very well with the music and cinematographic direction. I have watched it twice, and am sure I'll watch it again before long. It has a certain intrigue to it that is inescapable, and although I'm sure many people find this book/film/series highly overrated, I'm not one of them. It's very good, if not perfect, and while I can't give it top marks due to the first and third ways of reviewing it, it comes close by how good it actually is as a film in its own right.
For the future..........
I'm currently reading the second book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire. My wife has assured me of its greatness, saying it's better than the first one. I have no doubt she's right, and I'll happily finish it and look forward to watching the second film, due for release at the end of this month. My own gripe is going to come with how much they leave out of the book, I imagine, and I really hope they sort out the subtitles and dubbing issues that are quite obvious.
I'm going to have to finish with trepidation, though, albeit on a slightly different tack. Hollywood have gotten their hands on the rights to Americanise this Swedish film, and while foreign films don't necessarily get the exposure that the US does, I can't stand the majority of remakes. Asian horror has been well and truly mutilated by Hollywood (pardon the pun) and I sincerely hope that this isn't the start of other foreign films getting the same treatment. David Fincher has a good directing record when it comes to thrillers, with Se7en and Zodiac being the two that spring to mind, and current Bond Daniel Craig has recently been given the role of Blomkvist. It'll be interesting to see how they deal with subject matter, which can be a bit hard to watch at times as the years old mystery unravels in this original Swedish version. For me, I'm happy that Oplov has done a god job on this film, and hope that you'll forget this is a foreign language film and go for this over the forthcoming remake. It's getting four stars from me, and I would happily recommend it any day of the week.
After reading the Trilogy of books written by deceased Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, who sadly died in 2004 leaving the unpublished novels and not realising that his books would become best sellers in Europe. I was very interested to hear that the first book Man som hatar Kunnor-Men who hate women had been turned into a successful box office film in Denmark and Sweden.
The novel had been a real page-turner, and I have recommended it a lot of people so I was a bit apprehensive about seeing the film in case I was disappointed and the film didn't live up to my visual expectations of the book. That was not the case, for two and half hours my partner (who has not read the book) and I where totally engrossed in the movie. The sub- titles didn't distract you from the suspense at all.
The film starts with the main man Mikael Blomkvist whom was played by Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist being found guilty of publishing allegations in his magazine He was sentenced to serve six months in prison. While waiting for his date to serve his time he was approached by Henrik Vanger head of the Vanger Corporation to solve the forty year mystery of the disappears of his beloved sixteen year old niece. Henrik for forty years had been convinced that one of the family had killed her.
Mikael agreed to help and starts to dig into the Vangers past. He meets Lisbeth Salander played by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who is an antisocial, intelligent computer hacker. Noomi received the European best actress award for her part in this film. Mikael and Lisbeth start to discover a link with Harriet Vangers disappearance forty years early with grotesque murders. The film does show female nudity and very graphic violence but it is rated eighteen.
I was not disappointed with the film at all, the tension and intrigue that you feel when reading the book is present all the way though the film and the twist at the end is present The actors play a very convincing part, my partner whom has not read the books also found it to be a very enjoyable film and he was surprised at the twist at the end.
The film was filmed on location in Sweden all the places named, except Hedestan are real. Some people may find watching the film with sub-titles a bit distracting but I have heard that Hollywood is thinking about making a version of the film. Also the two-second books have also been turned into Swedish films.