you're reading...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – A movie review

Moments ago, I have just finished watching “The girl with a dragon Tattoo” on DVD. I hardly write movie reviews but these days I only watch movies which are adapted from my favourite novels. I like to read the novel before I watch the movie.

When I first watched it, it takes me a few moment of getting used to. I suppose I came with the mindset of someone who grew up with Hollywood movies, where actors are powdered to look their best, they are exceptionally macho and good looking, and I just want to keep looking at them again and again, even when they brawl and broke down in tears and make a mess of themselves, the actors would still look very endearing. 🙂

Not in this movie though. Actor, Michael Nyqvist, who played Mikael (Kalle) Blomvist is not powdered up or filmed in the best lighting, same goes for everyone else, so they ended up looking very weather beaten, wrinkled and crinkled, very visible facial pores that made them look unattractive, except for the young beautiful Harriet Vanger. Noomi Rapace who played Lisbeth Salander looks too old to be the petite and feisty 5-feet tall girl who kick ass. I always imagine Lisbeth to be much younger.

The adaptation follows the story line of the book to the dot and the differences are few. First, Lisbeth and Mikael never had that kind of physical and intimate relationship in the novel as they had in the movie. We were offered a glimpse into Lisbeth’s memory of what she did to her father, which the first book did not. Mikael was portrayed as a young boy who used to be taken care of (or baby-sit) by both Anita and Harriet Vanger. Mikael did not sleep with Erika Berger, his editor, in this movie (Thank God!). Miriam Wu, Lisbeth’s lover did not exist yet in the first book but was featured as an extra in this movie. I expect a dead cat (which didn’t show up in the movie) on their chalet door step as a threat from the murderer. I don’t remember the scene whereby a sniper was trying to kill Mikael in the woods from the book. The book didn’t cover the scene whereby Lisbeth watched the murderer burn alive, when she could have saved him.

Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace

Other than that everything else followed very closely to the novel. I watched in trepidation because it is really a very dark and scary thriller, and I knew what’s going to happen. The dark atmosphere was how I imagined it and the countryside and landscape of Sweden was stunning. The houses in the countryside are much more posh than I imagined, with look-out glass windows manor perched on a hill top and IKEA furnitures! The murderer’s cellar was not dingy but illuminates with bright fluorescent lights, as in a hospital laboratory!

Lisbeth’s rape scene was very disturbing for me to watch as it is disturbing to read. I had to cover my eyes at some parts of the movie because I couldn’t bear to watch all those mutilated and asphyxiated victims, if I watched them in full view, it would surely gave me nightmares at night!! 

By the end of the movie, I was taken in by the actors and they became the de facto hero and heroine of the The Girl trilogy and I accepted them wholeheartedly. I think what bowled me over was the tension the movie has created and Lisbeth’s emotional turmoil, which was the factor that fascinates us about her character from the book in the first place. 

The DVD comes with an option of English dialogue or a Swedish dialogue with an English subtitle. I watched it in English dialogue, Lisbeth has an American accent, and Mikhail a European one. When I tried watching the film in Swedish dialogue, it was so much better. I’m more of a visual person than an auditory one, so the English subtitle does make things clearer for me, especially so for this book because of its complex plot. 

From the many book adapted movies I watched this year, I was madly in love with Twilight (the book by Stephenie Meyer), disappointed with New Moon, got more disappointed with The Time Traveler’s Wife the movie. So for the second time this year, I’m very satisfied with this one. 

Verdict: The movie is as good as the book.

I suppose when The Girl who played with Fire DVD is out later next year, I would surely watch it. 

Have you watch the movie “The Girl with the Golden Tattoo”? What do you think of it? Why do you think The Girl Trilogy is such a phenomenon?


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


10 thoughts on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – A movie review

  1. I ***love**** that non-U.S. movies don’t feel obliged only to star “beautiful” people.

    I agree with you on some of the scenes – I had my hands over my eyes too! :–)

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | September 4, 2010, 1:39 am
  2. Like Rhapsody above me I too really enjoy that non-Hollywood movies contain people who look real. I will not be going to see the American version of this that is going to be made with Daniel Craig as Mikael and some girl I’ve never heard of as Lisbeth.

    I really liked this adaptation too – saw it in a full cinema a few months ago and you could tell who’d read the book and who hadn’t by who put their hands over their eyes when the rape scene was coming up. Still it wasn’t tacky or gratuitous and it does form a major part of the story.

    I’m a member of a face to face book club here and we just won our own private screening of the second book in the trilogy – looking forward to seeing that one too (especially as it’s my favourite of the books).

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | September 4, 2010, 8:25 am
  3. I havent read the book but I saw the movie about a week ago and I really enoyed it. It was alot darker than I expected and I wasnt expecting all the rape. As a result I doubt Ill read the books but I did enjoy how the story all came together at the end and I liked the conclusion.

    Posted by Jessica | September 4, 2010, 9:07 am
    • @Jessica (Bookend and park bench), it’s insightful to hear from someone who watch the movie but not read the book (you are the opposite of Jessica (bookworm) who read the book but not watch the movie), so thanks for sharing your experience. I suppose not knowing what to expect does give one a horrifying shock. Since you have been through the worst by watching it on big screen, the shocking effect of the rape hopefully will be watered down in the book. I would strongly encourage you to read the book, because I derived so much thrill in reading the entire trilogy. I promise you, the other two books does not contain any worse shocking scenes than the first book!

      Posted by JoV | September 4, 2010, 8:45 pm
  4. The changes you mention all sound right except Mikael was targeted by a sniper while he is out running in the woods, I only finished the book a week or so ago so its still fresh in my mind lol.
    I do want to watch this film but am worried about the graphic scenes…because it was bad enough when I read about the rape let alone having to watch it!

    Posted by jessicabookworm | September 4, 2010, 7:56 pm
    • @Jessica (Bookworm), Yeah I am sure my memory is lapsed on the sniper part. so thank God I have you to validate that! Get some company (cousins, girlfriends) to watch the movie and cover your eyes if you want to. I watched it alone, so it was rather terrifying for me….

      Posted by JoV | September 4, 2010, 8:39 pm
  5. I still haven’t read the series or the movie, but it’s good that you enjoyed them! I’ve heard though that Hollywood is planning to re-make the movies, how ridiculous is that. Sounds like they are deperate for money, or else think that people only watch Hollywood movies, argh!

    I’ve seen quite a lot of great films recently and have been at the movies at least once a week. I love it 🙂

    Posted by Bina | September 5, 2010, 5:43 pm
    • @Bina, I find the idea of Hollywood remaking the movie repulsive. I think everyone around the world should watch more “World Cinema” and appreciate movies of different languages and different producers, different cultures instead of Hollywood productions!! Perhaps the book publishers thought Hollywood movies will reach wider audience, and with that more sizeable royalty! As much as I find the idea repulsive, my curiosity would eventually win over me and I’ll probably still watch the Hollywood version just for the sake of comparison!! 😦

      Oh Lucky you! Hope you have fun watching all those movies!! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 5, 2010, 8:39 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 276 other subscribers

Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

%d bloggers like this: