Carl the Critic: Talks About "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (original)

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

For those who are interested in my comparison between the Swedish and American versions of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" please click here

Experience/Expectations

Before watching the Americanized version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" I decided to watch the original Swedish film. Being part Swedish, I have a high respect for Swedish movies such as "My Life as a Dog", and "Let the Right One In", but there was something about "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" which struck me as different. It was darker, and more complex, with a hint of mystery that I couldn't resist. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, a movie is only as good as its story, so let's dive into "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".

Story

Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist... Hey wait a minute! I remember him! He was in "Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol"!) is a reporter who has gotten himself into some trouble by writing a report of a fraud that he could not prove. For some reason, Henrik Vanger thinks this is the perfect person to find his missing niece, Harriet, and because Mikael has 6 months before he goes to prison, that gives him plenty of time to solve a murder case that's forty years old. Mikael accepts but on the way to try to find evidence he receives an email from someone called "Hornet", who helps him find major clues as to who the killer may be. He traces the email to a computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace... Wait a tick! I remember her! She was in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game in Shadows"!). The two of them then start uncovering several murders from over forty years, and a terrible truth about the Vanger family.

Discussion

So was it as good as I expected? No. It was BETTER!!! It's one of my favorite movies now, and can only hope that David Fincher doesn't screw it up.

That being said, what about the movie was good? And what about the movie was bad? Well, there is a lot of good in this movie, such as the overall look of the film. It was dark, gritty, and moody, like looking out of a window at a hurricane or a huge thunderstorm. The movies musical score was subtle when it needed to be, and suspenseful when it needed to be. The pace of the film was very good at the beginning and middle, but near the end it started to drag out.

The novel has major themes of violence against women, and how responsible some criminals are for their crimes as well as how responsible is the society that they live in, or their upbringing. So, does the film do a good job with staying true to this theme? Yes it does, through the character of Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth has suffered every form of abuse, physically and mentally, and yet she is the symbol of determination, intelligence, and strength. There is also the murderer who is also affected by his upbringing and environment.

There is a lot of question as to how much graphic depictions of sex is in there in this film? Lisbeth gets raped twice: The first one is not as bad as the second (where she is beaten, tied down, and gagged.) Rape is a very serious subject, and when it comes to movies, if you don't need it you shouldn't put it in the movie. So now we need to ask, was this rape scene necessary? Did it add anything or was it just put in for shock value? In my opinion, it is important to show what kind of a person is Lisbeth, and the rape scene showed that, she was a strong and smart. After the second rape, she goes to her rapist house (because he is suppose to be her guardian) and she stuns him, ties him up, gags him, and gets revenge (when she was raped the second time she recorded it as black mail to be used against him). Although I do not like seeing a depiction of rape, it was necessary in this case to show what kind of character Lisbeth is.

What isn't necessary is the sex scene that happens between Mikael and Lisbeth later. There is a scene where Mikael is asleep, and out of no where, Lisbeth comes into his room and just starts having sex with him because... Lisbeth was horny I guess. This scene didn't work for me because it came out of no where. Lisbeth and Mikael didn't have good chemistry in the romantic sense, it didn't even seem like they were really romantically interested in each other. It wasn't developed that they were interested in each other, the scene that occurred before was one where Mikael wanted to know if Lisbeth had a photographic memory and Lisbeth just left the room. If you are going to establish that two people have chemistry, you need to develop it better before you have a sex scene, otherwise it's just awkward. And after the sex scene, Lisbeth just leaves as though nothing happened. The only reason the sex scene was necessary was to show the dragon tattoo on her back, but there are other ways to show that.

So if you can get passed the unnecessary sex scene, the film is actually very good. Later on, there is a much better chemistry between Mikael and Lisbeth, and the ending was very satisfying.

Overall

This is one of my favorite films, great acting, great pace, great story, it had perfect scenes of suspense, it is one of those movies that I just love. Therefore I give it a 9.8 out of 10, (it lost 0.2 points for that pointless sex scene).

If you have seen the movie and wish to discuss a certain aspect of it, or have a question about the film you want me to answer, feel free to write it in the comment section below.

What about you?

If you saw "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (the Swedish version), what did you think?

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Comments 22 comments

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I'm interested in the subject matter but I think I might try the books before I try the movies. I have hard time with excessive violence in films. I really enjoyed your review. Thanks for posting!


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

Yes, I know what you mean. I need to get back to reading the books, but I just have these little talks to discuss certain elements of the film that the audience should be aware of. thanks for the comment Alecia :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Carl - you had me in at the title! I did see all 3 of the foreign flicks and loved them all. I really am ready to watch it again after seeing the review and being reminded of how great it was. And I totally agree about that scene it was weird and uncomfortable. I wish they would cut it out of the film:) lol But barring that - it was exciting and I felt myself really rooting for Lizabeth.

Up and all the buttons!


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

lol Thank you very much Kelly, I plan to watch the rest of the films when I have time, and I'm getting the book as soon as I can :) Thanks for your comment and votes.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

It's a pity the author or the book isnt around


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

I saw a copy of it a local book store that I plan to go to this evening.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I didn't know there was another version. Good to know. Thanks


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

You mean you've never heard of the 2009 Swedish version? It really is worth checking out.


capricornrising profile image

capricornrising 4 years ago from Wilmington, NC

Carl - I loved this film when I saw it. Which makes me a little leery of watching the American remake (though apparently that's pretty good too).


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden

I loved this movie with a horror mixed interest. I could not decide whether I should continue to watch or not and was on my way the whole movie. But I could not resist to watch because of the mystery and the great story. And I saw the other movies in the trilogy as well. They all are one of the best movies I have ever seen and I am not sure if I would want to watch the second version because I can not see how it could be any better than the Swedish 2009 version. Great review Carl, voted up,

Tina


pongogirl2 profile image

pongogirl2 4 years ago from California, USA

never knew there was a Swedish version of this movie:) Interesting!:)


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

.....great writing here my friend - you are definitely in the esteemed company of such film buffs (as me - lol) and most notably my buddies Robwrite and Cogerson whom I urge you to go and check out - haven't seen the remake but I hear it's pretty good .......and have seen the trilogy of these Swedish films which I loved ....the Hollywood remake of Let the Right one in I thought was pretty good too - and are you familiar with the master of Swedish cinema - Ingmar Bergman?

love your hubs..... your enthusiasm and passion and obvious good taste and knowledge

lake erie time ontario canada 6:29pm


Jerrico Usher profile image

Jerrico Usher 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

So what was written on, rather tatoo'd on his chest when she tied him up? It was in another language and I didn't have subs...?


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

@capricornrising: Just saw the American version, it was good but not as good. I suggest checking it out :)

@thougtforce: Just saw the American version, it was good, but as you can guess, it's not as good as the original Swedish film. I just bought the film trilogy and the book and am working on the comparisons between the Swedish and American films.

@pongogirl2: I highly recommend checking the Swedish version out. In my opinion it is much better.

@epigramman: "Am I familiar with Ingmar Bergman?" YES! He was a genius (a role model for film makers/film critics such as myself). He made a lot of great, thought provoking films that were deep, and psychological. If I had to choose a favorite of his it would probably be "Wild Strawberries", that was such a great movie :) Thanks for stopping by and for the comment :D

@Jerrico Usher: On his chest was tattooed the words "I'm a Sadist Pig and a Rapist"

@ALL Thank you all for your comments and votes. I will have my comparisons of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" films as soon as possible. Thanks again I hope to hear from you all soon :)


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hey Carl - I just can't believe they yanked the ads - I think you need to call Hollywood and have them cut those scenes so you can write a hub about it!! Lol


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

lol That's okay, rape and sex is a very serious subject, and although it can be uncomfortable to talk about, it's still important that the people who are interested in this movie know what is in it. Thanks for your comment Kelly :)


DIMIR profile image

DIMIR 4 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

The Swedish version was so great... and the American version...,well. Either way, you are very right about the romantic dynamics. They did at certain points, especially the scene you mentioned above, seem a little off. Great content, and I'm glad you chose the Swedish version first!


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

Yeah I'm glad too. I also liked the David Fincher film, but the Swedish film in my opinion was better. I initially had a Hub comparing the two but it was flagged, so now it's on "That Guy With The Glasses".com (the link is on my main page). Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)


Mimi 4 years ago

With all that went on in the movie...and there was quite a bit, I am in pieces over her having a broken heart at the end and throwing his gift in the garbage. So sad. They have her go tell her ex legal guardian she meant someone "nice" and he is but feel he let's her down in the end. Crushed by the ending. :/. Just got home from the movie and can't get my mind off of her...most likely sheer heartbreak!


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

The American film was did indeed have a sad ending (but it was close to the original story). This one's the Swedish version, and the ending's not as sad, and I highly recommend checking it out. Thanks for the comment :)


Liley 4 years ago

what an awful movie wayy too graphic


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

I'm sorry you don't like it.

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