The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (English language version) -Movie Review

After recently finishing the novel of the same title by Stieg Larsson, I decided to watch the movies. I came into contact with the English language version first, which is why I am reviewing it first (not because I don’t like subtitles, I love foreign films and subtitled rather than dubbed movies)

IMDB: Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

When initially reading that description of the movie I thought it excluded too much, but I guess anything that I might want to include would be too telling for the whole story.

RT Rating: Audience 88% Critic 87%

The title sequence for this movie is quite visually pleasing. I like the way they incorporated so many minor images from the novel into it, and the way it went with the music was done well.

I don’t know how to summarize the acting in this movie. It was very well done. Daniel Craig did a superb job with the character of Mikael Blomkvist. He seems to embody the exact personality Larsson wrote about, and this movie was a good showcase of Craig’s talents as an actor, rather than just as James Bond (not that he isn’t good in those as well). Lisbeth Salander’s (Rooney Mara) introduction in this movie immediately sets up this character with her jarring appearance and mixture of faults and strengths. I must commend Mara for her daring portrayal of this character because through what Lisbeth experiences in the novel this would be a rather gutsy role. For an actress that was seemingly unknown before this performance it is an interesting pick, yet she stood her ground. Her makeover for this role was incredible, exactly as I pictured from the book.

I have mixed feelings about the pace of this movie, or maybe it’s about the novel. Tightening up the first half of the novel into the first third (if that) of the movie was a very good idea. In the novel there is so much discussion between Henrick (Christopher Plummer) and Mikael at the beginning that I lost some of my interest and it was only in the minuscule moments featuring that Lisbeth that I regained my reason for reading. This movie took all of Lisbeth’s scenes and fit the important moments with Mikael around them. This technique made the movie feel fast paced which I liked. I have a few comments and complaints on certain scenes found below in the spoiler sectio.

My one major complaint in this movie was the music. It was a very jarring, noticeable, and overpowering soundtrack. The mixing of music, voice, and other sounds clashed. I understand the music for the movie begin a cacophony of noises, but that is only appropriate in certain situations, while characters are talking is not one of them.

I’m not exactly sure why they required a remake of the original Swedish version of the Millennium series other than the Americans this was marketed to can’t read subtitles. Yes, I really enjoyed this movie, and now that it has been made into an English language version I will not complain… But was it really necessary? Everything is set in Sweden, everyone appears to have accents, the fact that this is a remake of a newly made Swedish movie is not hidden during the remake.

*Spoiler Section*

The scene where Lisbeth is raped was an incredibly accurate depiction and horrifying for anyone to watch. This scene could have been done in so many ways that would not do justice to the character of Lisbeth or any real rape victims. It is a touchy subject to try and portray in the “correct” way, but I feel it was done as correctly as it could be in a movie.

I really enjoyed the way Lisbeth was able to take control over her situation. Even without hearing her inner dialogue as we do in the novel, we are still able to understand her motives for what she does throughout the story such as her following Mikael into the killers house, her attacking her rapist, and her being upset at seeing Erica and Mikael together at the end.

Through the decision not to include Cecilia Vanger and Mikael Blomkvist’s relationship and in turn never seeing her confession that she fell in love with him we are unable to make the connections to his relationships with Erica Berger and Lisbeth Salander (and her realization that she is in love with him at the end of the movie). This a part of Mikael’s character that we are unable to explore through this movie very much which I would have liked some time devoted to.

Another critique of this movie is the way they changed Mikael and Lisbeth’s relationship. The first scene where they meet is incredible. Craig seems happy, friendly, upbeat, and I’m pleased with his portrayal. Suddenly through all of their next conversations Lisbeth shuts him down more than in the book and he isn’t able to get in any of his quips. It makes her decision to have sex with him even more abrupt than in the book, coming completely out of left field.

Finally, the ending on how Harriet is found changed substantially. In this Harriet never moved to Australia, she never married or had children, she appears to have had a very quiet life. I prefer the ending in the novel better because even after all the hardships Harriet experienced during her teen years she was still able to find love and happiness later on.

My Rating: 8.5/10

I would wholeheartedly recommend watching this movie because it was definitely incredibly interesting. This seems like the type of movie where the book is almost required reading to see the movie, because I feel like it would leave many unanswered questions otherwise.

And the last thing that I need to do, is provide everyone with some Daniel Craig glasses porn. Because why the hell not? So here you go!

What did you think of the movie?