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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Film Review

Home > Sydney > Movie Reviews | Cinema
by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
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Copyright Columbia Pictures


The problem may be mine, but occasionally I experience a foreign film with subtitles, that I find difficult to follow, as I struggle with reading all the film's subtitles and keeping up with the drama and action at the same time.

When I saw the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for the first time, I found the scenes involving Mikael Blomkvist conducting the comprehensive background research into the lives of the rich and famous and dysfunctional Vanger family with their strong Nazi background connections difficult to follow. I didn't grasp fully who was who, and what they had done to whom. Also, the brutal sexual scenarios involving the guardian took a lot of energy to watch. For the sake of the character development I endured it, but I feel it could have been handled with more tact. As a result of the brutality, I watched the retribution scene with a certain amount of satisfaction and offer no apology.

Despite missing certain aspects of the story, I did enjoy what I saw, in particular Noomi Rapace, as the highly charged and socially challenged master computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander. I felt after seeing her stunning performance that it would be difficult to see another actress match her. What a surprise, as Rooney Mara The Social Network, a relatively unknown US actress gives an excellent portrayal as Salander. Daniel Craig is brilliant as Mikael Blomkvist and brings depth to the character as he struggles to cope with various issues. The other cast members are well placed and present very good performances.

The recent release of the Hollywood remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is a gripping thriller that provides gloomy winter Swedish landscapes along with a matching musical soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. In spite of the violence and the gloomy subject matter, there are some wonderful subtle pieces of visual humour that give a welcomed pause from the heavy drama.

I found Fincher's movie easier to follow, even though there were faint changes in the storyline notwithstanding a plot that includes Nazism, brutal rapes, murders, incest, government corruption and high-finance cyber hacking. What appealed to me was the merging of several stories; the main stories being Mikael Blomkvist as the discredited investigative journalist investigating the 40 year old unsolved disappearance of Harriet, the grandniece of Henrik Vander (Christopher Plummer). Meanwhile, Lisbeth Salander the highly skilled hacker, has been investigating Blomkvist. Salander is a ward of the state with a troubled past and some unsavoury issues which develops into a violent relationship. It's about 90 minutes into the film when Blomkvist and Salander meet and join forces to work together to solve the mystery of Harriet's disappearance.

STARS: ****1/2 OUT OF *****

FOOTNOTE: I have commenced reading the novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. What an exciting and informative read it is, even after seeing both films. I am also finding it interesting comparing how both film directors have adapted the novel to the screen and the subtle changes they have introduced in their telling of the story.

I definitely recommend reading the novel.

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Why? An exciting thriller with stunning performances
Where: In cinemas
Cost: Standard movie prices
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