Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. If you’ve read it, then there’s a good chance you’ve read the other two of the trilogy – The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
If you haven’t read any of them, let me just say that they were written by a talented Swedish author named Stieg Larsson, who died before the movies came out. The first story, in general terms is about a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who accepts an assignment from a Swedish industrialist named Henrik Vanger to solve a “cold case” – the disappearance of Vanger’s great-niece, Harriet, some 40 years earlier. It is an epic tale of serial murder and the evil that lies within a wealthy family. In the course of his investigation, Blomkvist employs Lisbeth Salander, who works for a security company and who is a brilliant computer hacker.
The story, itself, is interesting, but what makes these books so fascinating is the character of Lisbeth. She is a 25-year-old, highly intelligent, talented private investigator. She is also totally asocial, distrustful and emotionally damaged to the point where she has been declared emotionally incompetent and is a ward of the state. She makes it very difficult to like her, but like her I did! There’s just something about her. As the story unfolds, we begin to understand why she is the way she is. And we also rejoice in the ways she fights back. I can’t imagine any woman reading this book who doesn’t find herself cheering Lisbeth on. The story contains a lot of horrible violence, but it is necessary violence. Once I finished the first book, I devoured the next two.
When I heard there was a Swedish movie version of the first book, I proclaimed loudly to all my friends that I absolutely would not see it. The characters had become too important to me. It was vital that Mikael and Lisbeth be portrayed exactly as they were in the books. And what if they changed the story? I felt I couldn’t risk it. And besides, the movie was in subtitles, which, as an American, I’m not used to.
So anyway, a couple of weeks ago I ran to Target to get something, which it turned out they didn’t have. As I was leaving the store, I passed the movie section and there in the rack was one last copy of the movie. Call it fate. Call it idiocy. Whatever it was, I felt I was meant to see this movie. I bought it.
It was with trepidation that I put it into my DVD player. The first thing I noticed, besides the subtitles, was the fact that this Swedish movie had a different look than an American one. It wasn’t as glossy. People’s faces were shown with all their imperfections, men and women. The actor who played Mikael, Michael Nygvist, looked like a real person, not a movie star. But, after only a few minutes, I ceased to notice these things and got pulled in by the story. But I was waiting for Lisbeth…
The actress who played her, Noomi Rapace, could have stepped out of the pages of the book, itself. She was perfect. She was the Lisbeth Salander I had been hoping for. In fact, the whole movie was so true to the book that I fell in love with it! It cast a spell on me and when the credits ran at the end, I felt a deep contentment that it had been done right.
The second movie has just been released and I’m going to wait for it to come out in DVD. If it’s even half as good as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” it will be worth owning.
Meanwhile, there are many stories in the media about actresses who want to play Lisbeth in the American version of the movie. Call me crazy, but I don’t WANT them to make an American version! I know how Hollywood does things and I can’t bear to think of some bright-faced little spoiled diva trying to portray the intense, complicated, fascinating Lisbeth. I don’t want them changing the story just because they can.
When will we learn that you can’t improve upon perfection? In case you haven’t guessed, if they do make the American version, and apparently they are, I won’t be buying a ticket. I mean it. No way, Jose′!
My advice: Do see this movie! (But read the book first.)