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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (SWEDISH MOVIE 2009)

I was a late convert to the Millenium Trilogy by the late Steig Larsson and although I've all three books on my shelves I've only read the first book in the series. So I was especially interested to see this movie on DVD having missed the original cinema run.

The DVD gives the option of an English language soundtrack but I found the dubbing too obvious and opted for the original Swedish with the English subtitles. I'm something of a purist in that sense and if I had the ability to read the original books in their native language I would.

Is the film faithful to the book? Pretty much or at least as faithful as a film could be. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), is sentenced to a short prison term after being framed for libel. Free for a short period of time before having to serve that sentence, he reluctantly accepts a job offer from Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), the aged former CEO of the Vanger Corporation and patriarch of the powerful, yet very dysfunctional, Vanger family. Henrik wants him to look into the disappearance and, he believes, murder, of his beloved niece, Harriet Vanger, some 40 years earlier. Harriet was just 16 years old when she disappeared during a road-tanker crash that closed off the only bridge that connected their Island home to the mainland. He believes that, since she could not get off the island during the hours she was unaccounted for, she must never have been murdered.

In common with the book it is the remarkable creation of Lisbeth, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo who dominates and really brings the story to life. She is a thoroughly modern woman carrying around more than her fair share of demons.

The literal translation of the Swedish title for the source novel is, Men who hate women and this is a much more suitable title than, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It better sums up the feel and theme of both the movie and book. However it is a fine,if dark and often disturbing movie and those who read the book will not be disappointed. Whilst those who haven't are in for a thrilling ride with one or two genuinely horrific moments.

Hollywood are currently remaking this movie with Daniel Craig as the crusading journalist and they'll probably make a pig's ear of it but this movie more than makes up for it. If I have one complaint about the DVD it is of the way it is authored - you have to sit through several trailers before the movie starts which would be fine on a rental title but not on something you've paid for and will probably watch several times. When the piracy advert came up - you wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a movie - I felt like shouting, "yeah but you fuckers are stealing my time".

Overall then, not as good as the book but an excellent movie nonetheless.

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