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.
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?