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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
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".
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.
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.
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.