Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
A disgraced journalist investigates a 40 year old crime.

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), editor of the political Millennium magazine,has just been found guilty of libel against respected journalist Hans Erik Wennerstrom.

Under the advice of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), Harold Vanger offers Blomkvist a secure job looking into the disappearance of his niece almost forty years ago.

As Blomkvist delves into the case, he enlists the help of Salander in the hope that together they can solve it once and for all.

Following the incredible success (both critically and commercially) of the 2009 Swedish trilogy of Stieg Larrson's novels, Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon to offer a version that is more accessible to those who hate subtitles.

Having enjoyed the Swedish version, I was very sceptical that Daniel Craig and co. could improve on the story. But, credit where credit is due; having read the books, the American version follows the story far more accurately than its Scandinavian counterpart.

Usually when adapting a novel, making it as close to the book storyline is a sure-fire way to win over those that are fiercely loyal to the author, but for some reason this adaptation is missing something. Daniel Craig is not too bad as Blomkvist, and contrary to what I thought before I watched it, he actually shakes the James Bond image easily.

A big problem though is Rooney Mara's Salander. Both her and Noomi Rapace (the Swedish Salander) correctly keep the female protagonist cold and secluded which is the big appeal to the unique character. But, the book makes a big deal of Salander ultimately having morals, no matter how far removed they are from normal. As a result, Rapace makes her Salander amiable whilst Mara just makes hers repulsive.

This difference in the Salander interpretation isn't the only thing that's different in the cultural representation. The American version attempts to retain the Swedish locations and, to an extent, the Swedish accent. Despite enjoying the inclusion of various Swedish actors it occasionally had me reaching again for the subtitles.

As a result, this film sits on the fence as to whether to stick or twist. Should it aim for the hardcore fans? I think there was a missed opportunity for reaching out to those who had never been acquainted with the series before. Perhaps setting the film in American might have worked, like it did for Get Carter. Perhaps not. Rather than just going for revenues, why not just take a chance?

As I said, credit where credit is due. It's not appalling, and its not appealing. It's a film that right down the middle. Right on the fence.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't read the books yet or seen the original films, but I was riveted by this rendition.

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  2. There's nothing really wrong with the film, I just didn't feel it was very accessible what with the Swedish/American combinations.

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