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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 30-04-2011

5

Product Description
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investig… More >>

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

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Comments (5)

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the first in the trilogy of crime novels written by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson. Larsson wrote them during his spare time, as a form of amusement. However, the novels were not published until after Larsson’s untimely death in Nov 2004. The author never had the opportunity to enjoy the critical and the commercial success his books eventually earned. In 2008 Larssen became the second best selling author on the planet.

Now, on to the story:

Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist, convicted, unjustly he believes, of libel against a powerful industrialist. As Blomkvist awaits the commencement of his sentence, he is hired by a scion of a wealthy family to investigate the disappearance of the man’s bellowed niece 40 years earlier. Everyone, initially including Blomkvist, believes the case is hopeless. Unexpectedly though, help comes in form of “the girl with the dragon tattoo”, Lisbeth Salander. The mysterious woman clearly has a severe past: despite being 24 years old, her person and finances are being managed by a court appointed guardian. She does however, have a brilliant mind and, as we are about to learn, a powerful will… She quickly becomes the driving force of the investigation. We watch transfixed, as the past reaches into the presence, and touches the lives of Blomkvist, Salander, her guardian, the industrialist and the wealthy scion.

The story, as written by Larsson, is extremely brutal (consider that the original, and the very apt, Swedish title is “Men Who Hate Women”). However, I am inclined to believe the violence serves as another character in the story and as such is necessary. I am therefore glad that the filmmakers did not seek to tamper it, thus neutering the punch the story delivers. Though this Swedish adaptation is scripted and directed to the highest standard, the focus must be on the performance of the actress Noomi Rapace. Her portrayal of Lisbeth is shockingly faithful to the text and the actress manages to take over the film with her very appearance.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is one of the best adaptations I have seen, ever. I encourage you not to miss it; though do see it with friends, as you will afterwards feel strongly compelled to discuss the various explosive plot twists. I hope Hollywood never touches this gem. I am anxiously waiting for the next two installments to hit US screens.

PS: Keep in mind, this film is NOT for the underaged.

Rating: 5 / 5

A terrific movie that develops a complex story in a fast-paced way. The screenwriter has done an excellent job at shaving away any excess in the book (which I liked very much) and really focused on the action without losing anything. Actors are wonderful, totally believable and unknown to this American – which goes a long way to making them inhabit their roles so completely. Swedish countryside is almost another character and the audience also gets a travelogue from seeing these great moody swaths of land, snow and island woods.

The movie is enjoyable whether or not you’ve read the book and is one of the rare ones that improves upon the book. [THE GODFATHER is the only other one that comes to mind.]

Highly recommended!
Rating: 5 / 5

The best screen adaptation from a book in years. The director has honored this well writtten work by following the book almost perfectly without omitting or sacrificing parts of the story. Lisbeth Sanders is perfectly cast. Rapace is Lisbeth. She creates a cult of somewhat envious admiring viewers wanting to become like Lisbeth. She is a fiery hellcat with an appealing naivete. This has viewers cheering for her to be avenged. Mikael too is equally well cast. Using orthodox methods, he step-by step partners with Lisbeth to peal back the layers of the mystery. Lisbeth stays always a step ahead of Mikael in her discoveries. The less well developed character Erika plays a lesser role. However, it is obvious there is bond if not a deeper relationship between Erika and Mikael. This relationship is given little emphasis in the directors efforts to focus on the real plot. Fast moving,well filmed and worth seeing.

Rating: 5 / 5

Over 2.5 million people in Scandinavia have seen this film, making it the first film in Scandinavian history ever to break the $100 million mark for European ticket sales, and US fans of Stieg Larsson’s bestseller of the same name may propel the film to similar records here. The R-rated film tells the story of Mikael Blomqvist, a disgraced journalist for Sweden’s Millenium magazine who accepts an invitation from an elderly businessman to investigate the disappearance of his niece Harriet, thirty-seven years ago. No trace of her has ever turned up, and the old man fears that a member of his family may have murdered her. While Blomquist is gathering information and storing it on his computer, he realizes that someone is hacking into his files. That person is Lizbeth Salander, a disturbed young woman living under the guardianship of the state, having spent time in a mental institution. Working together, they discover information about the Vanger family’s Nazi connections and their association with extreme religious groups.

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev’s dark and atmospheric cinematography establishes an ice-cold mood from the outset, with the action taking place in winter on an isolated island where the sun never seems to shine. Outdoor scenes are mostly black, white, and gray; interior scenes are full of clutter and of dark wood of almost claustrophobic heaviness. Michael Nyqvist (as Mikael Blomqvist) conveys the sense of loss, even betrayal, that his character feels after losing a libel case in a miscarriage of justice, and his vulnerability makes him the perfect foil for Noomi Rapace (as Lizbeth Salander). Rapace conveys not only the toughness and emotional dissociation resulting from abuse Lizbeth has faced, but also, in two memorable scenes, the feeling that behind the seemingly ironclad façade, there beats a real heart. Her role in the film is bigger than it is in the novel, and when she is on screen, it is impossible to look at anyone else. Nyqvist seems to recognize this, conveying Blomqvist’s support for her through body language, gesture, and facial expressions, and remaining more in the background. The supporting actors, though their parts are far less developed, are equally committed to the film as a whole.

Brilliant pacing keeps the action and its shocks continuing throughout the film, and not a single “dead spot” appears, an extraordinary feat for a film that is more than two-and-a-half hours long and depends upon subtitles for dialogue. Even people familiar with the book will be jolted by the sudden visual shocks as they hit. Horrifying cenes of physical and sexual violence often make the film very difficult to watch, the sounds of the violence making the visual effects even stronger. There are some scenes of nudity.

Every aspect of this film is integrated into the whole, however, and it is difficult to imagine any adult fan of the book being disappointed in this production. The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, the remaining two books in the trilogy, have already been filmed and released to huge audiences in Europe, and both of these films are projected for release in the US (with subtitles) in the fall of 2010. Mary Whipple

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Vintage)

Rating: 5 / 5

Released just in time to happily mesh with the American publishing advent of the last book in the Millennium trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, this film adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” should provide admirers of Lisbeth Salander (hacker extraordinaire and victim of a renegade faction of the Swedish social system) with more than enough fan-tastic material to orbit them into “Girl” heaven.

Director Niels Arden Oplev depicts a Sweden icy in its efficiency; its cleanliness apparent in its scenes of smooth running undergrounds, bridges and autobahns. Beneath the crisp perfection of the surroundings, a misogynist undercurrent flares with the overt intensity of a laser as illustrated by the instantaneous hatred displayed by a pack of leather-clad youths subjugating a young woman to physical abuse in the subway, a guardian of mature years attacking his ward and a teenager subjected to repeated rape and beatings. Director of photography, Eric Kress, intentionally showcases gritty up close and personal full screen faces of the film’s protagonists where large pores, warts and all contribute to the feeling of an underlying lack of social airbrushing in spite of all the repressed punctiliousness of both the Scandinavian urban and rural scenes.

The film’s leads, most notably Noomi Rapace as the unconventional Salander and Michael Nyqvist as crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, more than adequately do justice to their fictitious counterparts. Rapace’s waiflike appearance, economy of motion and smoldering glares bring the understandably sullen Lisbeth to toxic life. Nyqvist’s vaguely Charleton Heston sensuality and amused sophistication fleshes out the likeable and idealistic Blomkvist but writers Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel omit the character’s casual sexual relationships with Millenium editor-in-chief Erika Berger, Cecelia Vanger and former babysitter Harriet. Grant it, the film, running over two and a half hours, has little time to waste on gratuitous sexual footage and exploring instead Blomkvist’s woes as a convicted journalist and Salander’s smoldering rage regarding her tempestuous and unforgivable childhood in a more than adequate adaptation of the novel’s main plotline: the collaboration of the two to investigate and resolve a forty-year old murder on an isolated island populated by a wealthy industrial family. Kress again does a more than admirable job of interjecting B&W stills into key moments of revelation during the investigation. In particular is the forty year old photo of the missing/murdered Harriet, enigmatically staring out from her photo frame like an avenging Mona Lisa.

With never a slow moment, the film whets the appetite for more Salander victory moments–the over fifty art house audience with which I viewed this film was more than familiar with Lisbeth’s special skills, dark moods and vindictive motivations; lively conversation before and after the film suggested a group already well-versed through the pages of the novels. Each time Salander displayed her ample hacking abilities, unselfconsciously took what she wanted and knowingly puzzled out a conundrum of Chinese proportions, the audience burst into appreciative laughter or applause, suggesting that the cult of the underdog as epitomized by the tattooed and pierced eighty-something pound, 24 year old Salander was alive and well admired by the sector of American senior citizens who frequent long foreign speaking films with English subtitles.

This reviewer’s disappointment came only once with the film’s exclusion of the last scene of the novel where Salander, in observing love interest Blomkvist with long-time lover Erika Berger, feels pangs of the ever familiar betrayal, jealousy and resentment of which she has grown accustomed. Seeing Salander’s vulnerability in this context would have segued me right into the next film with no degree of difficulty. I also wondered if those who had not read the book prior to seeing the film had difficulty keeping all the plot threads tucked neatly into a well-organized ball.

Bottom line? Director Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation of journalist Stieg Larsson’s 600+ page crime thriller, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” successfully entertains and captivates its audience with a faithful representation of the first in a series of three films based on the Millennium trilogy recounting the trials and tribulations of an abused and misunderstood girl with extraordinary powers of perception and technological skills. Cinematography by Eric Kress features a lovely and diffused snow-flaked Sweden compared to the harsh depravity of some of it inhabitants as seen baldly under the glare of too bright light that show every crease, wrinkle and enlarged pore. Noomi Rapace’s performance as Lisbeth smarts with an indignation and nonconformity applauded by audiences of all ages and mindsets. A thoroughly entertaining and compelling storyline underlined by special skills makes this one a must see for all those who love the crime genre. Filmed in Swedish with English subtitles. Mature themes and graphic violence not intended for viewing by young children. Highly Recommended.

Diana Faillace Von Behren

“reneofc”

Rating: 5 / 5

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