Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Movie Review - "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" - på Svenska

Last night we sat down and figured out how to run our DVD player, so that we could play the Swedish version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2009)  Needless to say, we don't use our DVD player all that much.  Georgia had requested the Swedish version at the local library, and it came in yesterday.

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander
We had both read the three books the movie was based on over the course of the year, while commuting.  For those three of you who don't know the back story.  Stieg Larrson wrote the three "Girl" books (the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest and the Girl Who Played with Fire) while while at his day job as a journalist in Sweden.  The novels were published after he died in 2004. The books have become international best sellers.  There's a bit of controversy over the publication:
In May 2008, it was announced that a 1977 will, found soon after Larsson's death, declared his wish to leave his assets to the Umeå branch of the Communist Workers League (now the Socialist Party). As the will was unwitnessed, it was not valid under Swedish law, with the result that all of Larsson's estate, including future royalties from book sales, went to his father and brother. His long term partner Eva Gabrielsson, who found the will, has no legal right to the inheritance, sparking controversy between her and his father and brother. Reportedly, the two never married because, under Swedish law, couples entering into marriage are required to make their addresses (at the time) publicly available; marrying would have been a security risk. Owing to his reporting on extremist groups and the death threats he had received, the couple had sought and been granted masking of their addresses, personal data and identity numbers from public records, to make it harder for others to trace them; this kind of "identity cover" was integral to his work as a journalist and would have been difficult to bypass if the two had married or become registered partners.
The tattoo
The Swedish versions of the movies were all shot at the same time and released in 2009.  The "Girl", Lisbeth Salander was chilling played by Noomi Rapace, who captured the physical and emotional aspects of the main character flawlessly, physically slight, sexually ambiguous, emotionally damaged, intellectually brilliant and driven.  The Mikael Blomkvist character, played by Michael Nyqvist represented the authors vision pretty well. It's clear that Kalle Blomqvist is what the author saw himself; a crusading journalist, and a lady's man, smart and sensitive who beds three different women in one novel, all of them knowing of each other and not caring. 

The novels were clearly a vehicle for Stieg to promote his political views, the crusading liberal journalist, the abused yet strangely (emphasis on strange) competent woman protagonist, horrible male oppressors with extreme right-wing views (Nazi's in "Tattoo"), rapacious industrialist war mongers.  I'll let that all go in the name of art.  It's fair when Ayn Rand did it too.

The cinematography of the movie was excellent.  The Swedish landscapes, that changed with the seasons of the book were excruciating. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the two additional movies is Swedish in the next couple of days, and no doubt, we will also go to see the new Hollywood version, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

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