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Movie Review: American Version, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
On Saturday evening July 7, 2012, Starz cable channel premiered The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig, as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. The film takes place on location in modern day Sweden. This is the American film released in 2011. There is a 2009 Danish version of the movie.
The film makers had a difficult task adopting a 590 page novel into a 158 minute movie. If I had not recently read the novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, I would not have been able to follow the movie. The director, David Fincher, did a fine job focusing on the two major characters: Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative reporter and Lisbeth Salander, his researcher. The actress Rooney Mara was perfectly cast as Lisbeth Salander. Daniel Craig appears as a scruffy screen version of the novel’s Blomkvist.
The difference between a book and film is the transformation of the author’s words into a visual image. In the book, the author writes an in-depth analysis of the character’s psyche. On the movie screen, the actor must exhibit these emotions.
The movie follows the major storyline of the novel. Lisbeth Salander is a researcher and computer hacker. She is highly intelligent and resourceful. She is strange, emotionally disturbed and violent. Mikael Blomkvist is an investigative journalist who had been tricked into writing a libelous report. He is an honest, diligent reporter. He is also a womanizer.
Blomkvist is hired by the patriarch of the wealthy Vanger family to investigate the 40 year disappearance of the patriarch’s 16 year old grand-daughter, Harriet Vanger. Blomkvist enlists Salander as his researcher. Salander has been abused by society her entire life. Her legal guardian brutally and sexually assaults her. The film depicts the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist and the convoluted twists and turns of the investigation.
The movie is dark. The worst aspects of sexual deviancy and human behavior are explicitly exhibited in the film. The entire cast does a fine job of acting but the standout is Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. She conveys the emotional personality of the book’s Lisbeth Salander character excellently.
I enjoyed watching the characters in the novel portrayed on the cinema. It was refreshing to view the winter scenery in Sweden. A final note, if you want to see Daniel Craig in a superior movie, before his James Bond performances, view the 2004 film Layer Cake.