The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (English subtitled)

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I fell in love with dragons when I read Tea With the Black Dragon, and never looked back. Not the clunky winged Medieval dragons that ate cows, the graceful Asian dragons that could fly without wings. Later I discovered the elegant Welsh dragons, red and white, as described by R.J. Stewart in his books on the historical Merlin.
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3 Responses to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (English subtitled)

  1. Shopper says:

    I’m still speechless… This will be a classic! The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the first in the trilogy of crime novels written by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson. Larsson wrote them during his spare time, as a form of amusement. However, the novels were not published until after Larsson’s untimely death in Nov 2004. The author never had the opportunity to enjoy the critical and the commercial success his books eventually earned. In 2008 Larssen became the second best selling author on the planet.Now, on to the story:Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist, convicted, unjustly he believes, of libel against a powerful industrialist. As Blomkvist awaits the commencement of his sentence, he is hired by a scion of a wealthy family to investigate the disappearance of the man’s bellowed niece 40 years earlier. Everyone, initially including Blomkvist, believes the case is hopeless. Unexpectedly though, help comes in form of “the girl with the dragon tattoo”, Lisbeth Salander. The mysterious woman clearly has a severe past: despite being 24 years old, her person and finances are being managed by a court appointed guardian. She does however, have a brilliant mind and, as we are about to learn, a powerful will… She quickly becomes the driving force of the investigation. We watch transfixed, as the past reaches into the presence, and touches the lives of Blomkvist, Salander, her guardian, the industrialist and the wealthy scion.The story, as written by Larsson, is extremely brutal (consider that the original, and the very apt, Swedish title is “Men Who Hate Women”). However, I am inclined to believe the violence serves as another character in the story and as such is necessary. I am therefore glad that the filmmakers did not seek to tamper it, thus neutering the punch the story delivers. Though this Swedish adaptation is scripted and directed to the highest standard, the focus must be on the performance of the actress Noomi Rapace. Her portrayal of Lisbeth is shockingly faithful to the text and the actress manages to take over the film with her very appearance.The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one of the best adaptations I have seen, ever. I encourage you not to miss it; though do see it with friends, as you will afterwards feel strongly compelled to discuss the various explosive plot twists. I hope Hollywood never touches this gem. I am anxiously waiting for the next two installments to hit US screens.PS: Keep in mind, this film is NOT for the underaged.

  2. Cool Breeze says:

    This is not a remake of an original adaptation When American filmmakers decided to put forth a second adaptation of the Swedish vampire/drama/horror film, “Let the Right One In”, a mere two years after the first one had been released in Sweden, I was pretty angry. Like many other geeks who’d seen the original adaptation of the Swedish novel, I thought that not enough time had passed(2 years)since the release of the first film, and that there was certainly no justification for the second adaptation. Additionally, the Swedish “Let the Right One In” adaptation was an unbelievably well made film(a classic in my opinion)and I believed that an attempt at an American adaptation so soon after the advent of the original film was somewhat disrespectful. “At least allow the original film to occupy its place in the horror pantheon for at least a few years before some hack director is given permission to besmirch the legacy of the first film with his/her adaptation,” is what I’d said to myself after becoming privy to the announcement of the new film.After initially vowing never to see the American adaptation of “Let the Right One In”, the relentless positive buzz that preceded the film’s release date led to a change of heart. Immediately after watching the American adaptation I thought “Wow. I am so glad that I decided to watch this movie.” The American adaptation was different from the Swedish adaptation in many ways. In fact, the American film had some good qualities that did not exist in the Swedish version. That said, I enjoyed both movies immensely. Each movie appealed to a distinct part of my whole personality, thereby engendering a richer experience for me. Most of the professional critics would probably agree.Fast forward to December 21, 2011, and the movie going public is faced with a similar phenomenon. In 2009, a Swedish adaptation of the Stieg Larson novel, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, was released to critical and box office acclaim in Sweden. It was then transferred to the United States for limited release. The film became a critical and popular hit in the United States, made a star out of actress Noomi Rapace(who did a great job as the lead) and eventually made an American idol out of the novel’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander. Again, a mere two years passes between the release of both films, and thankfully, the film’s director is no Bret Ratner. He is David Fincher, the brilliant auteur who has directed seminal films such as “Seven”, “Fight Club”, and the “Social Network”. With Fincher’s name attached to the American Adaptation, it gains instant credibility. However, lovers of the first film are still skeptical. They are afraid that the new version will not live up to the standards of the original adaptation. Well, I’m here to say that the hand wringers can rest easy. David Fincher’s version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is just as good, if not better, than the Swedish original.Many of you who are reading this review are familiar with Stieg Larson’s novel. It features a character named Lisbeth Salander, a 24 year old genius computer hacker whose life has been made very difficult because of the psychological/sexual/physical abuse that has been put upon her by male authority figures. Because of this abuse, Lisbeth comes to despise men. That is until she comes into contact with disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, with whom she teams up with to solve the 40 year old “murder” of Harriet Vagner, a relative of wealthy businessman, Henrik Vagner. As they investigate the disappearance of Harriet, Lisbeth and Mikael become involved in a sexual relationship, where upon Lisbeth develops feelings for the rakish reporter. They are able to solve the case together even as the relationship between Mikael and Lisbeth becomes complicated.All of the actors do well for themselves in this movie adaptation, especially actress Rooney Mara, who really gives her all as Lisbeth. Noomi Rapace was great as Lisbeth in the Swedish version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo”. However, Rooney Mara’s physical and psychological interpretation of the damaged Lisbeth really grabs you. Anyone who has read the book will tell you that Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth fits more with their idealized image of Lisbeth; an emaciated, pale, sexy, and sometimes androgynous girl/woman with a really nasty streak if provoked. Rooney has already been nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance, and is predicted to get more attention during the upcoming awards season. Daniel Graig is solid as Mikael Blomkvist, and Stellen Skarsgard gives a scary, creepy performance as Martin Vanger. Oh, and special kudos to Yorick Van Waginengen, whose performance as Bjurman(Lisbeth’s abusive social worker) really makes you despise his character. You will rejoice when he receives his comeuppance in a brutal scene.David Fincher’s version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” moves much quicker than the Swedish version, even though the film runs…

  3. Andy Orrock says:

    Embrace the subtitles: see part 1 of Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy in its intended tongue I’m a fervent and early fan of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I would have flown to another city to watch this film if I had to. Luckily, I live in one of the country’s best cities for art house cinema: Dallas. Yes, contrary to the expected stereotypes I always have to bat down when I tell out-of-town friends this fact: Dallas has a tremendous art house cinema culture. And, as testament to that, we got “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” very early. What a thrill for us.I am not going to claim that the movie is better than the book. What makes the books so compelling are the monster-deep dives Larsson takes into varied areas like investigative journalism, corruption, hacking, mafia, governmental affairs, mafia-government connections, intelligence agencies, detectives..and a host of others. What makes the first book spin is its dual axes of investigative journalism and hacking, personified respectively by Larsson’s two protagonists, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. In the movie, something’s gotta give: there’s just no earthly way director Niels Arden Oplev is going to be able to fit all of Larsson’s work into a film of slightly less than three hours.So what Oplev does is strip the story down to its core: the hunt for Harriet Vanger. It’s this case that serendipitously brings Blomkvist and Salander together. In the process of the focus, we lose some of the flavor that is the hallmark of the book, most notably much of the investigative journalism as practiced inside the walls of Millennium magazine. Millennium’s editor, Erika Berger, is but a footnote in the movie but a big part of the book. Likewise, little attention is given to the so-called “Wennerström Affair,” the personal and professional downfall that befalls Mikael at the book’s outset. Indeed, the first third of the book focuses mainly on these two elements of the tale.Similarly, we lose out on some other aspects of Mikael’s character. Mainly, his babe-magnetism. In the movie, he and Salander develop a sexual relationship. [Indeed, it's undertones of the memories of this relationship that drives much of books two and three.] But the movie has removed the sexual aspects from two of the other relationships Mikael has with female characters.Despite all that, this movie lives and dies on one turn: it’s ability to ‘get it right’ with its casting of Lisbeth. Over and over I would to my wife “Lisbeth better be good.” And she’d tell me the same thing repeatedly. And others I know have the same mantra: don’t mess with my ideal vision of Lisbeth. In that light, Noomi Rapace represents deliverance. She scored the essence of the character: we want Lisbeth to have that mix of smarts, hardened exterior, quirky beauty, ferocity and manic energy that drives the book. Ms. Rapace delivers all that in spades. She’s maybe a little less elfin than the character described by Larsson, but other than that, she’s the Lisbeth from my head.I urge all fans of the book to see this enjoyable adaptation. [Oplev made all three movies at once, so the other two are headed this way.] Embrace the subtitles. This is a Swedish story through and through. It deserves to be seen in Swedish. It’s distressing to see US box office totals stalling at less than $10M. All that is going to do is fuel the drive to complete an insipid US version with some disheartening casting like Brad Pitt as Mikael and god knows who as Lisbeth. Whoever steps into that role, Noomi Rapace has already left her well behind at the starting line.

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