Friday, March 9, 2012


(March 2010, U.S.)

I am writing this post on the original Swedish film version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and not the pathetic-Hollywood-attempt-to-cash-in-on-the-creativity-of-other-countries-by-giving-stupid-American-audiences-sub-standard-copies-of-what-has-already-been-done...version. Let me also say in conclusion of this particular topic that I realize Hollywood remakes of foreign subtitled films is as old as whenever. Some of them (very few), in my opinion, have even surpassed the original versions. However, I've never seen Hollywood jump on band wagon of forgery and "copy-catting" so damn fast before - only two and a half years after the Swedish film, for Christ sakes!

Okay, so now that I've gotten that bit of anger out of my system, let's get into what I consider to be one of the best films of the new decade so far. It's based on the first book in the trilogy known as the "Millennium series", published in Sweden back in 2005 (I haven't read any of the books...yet). Without attempting to try and get into the intricate details of the plot for the benefit of those who haven't seen it, let me just say that it's one of the most interesting pair-ups of characters who ever solved a mystery that I've ever seen on film before. On the one hand, we have straightforward Millennium magazine publisher Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) who's just been hired by wealthy client Henrik Vanger (played by Sven-Bertil Taube) to investigate the disappearance of his great-niece, Harriet, who vanished on Children's Day back in 1966. Vanger believes that Harriet was murdered by a family member. And then there's the infamous character of bisexual surveillance agent Lisbeth Salander (played brilliantly by Noomi Rapace), someone who can best be described as "not exactly the girl you'd bring home to mother". She barely speaks, dresses like a vampire/motorcycle punk and has the ability to really kick ass when necessary. She also has a past of violence and rape committed against her that's left her virtually distrustful of all men and particularly violent against men who would hurt women. After being horribly raped by her legal guardian, the graphic revenge she takes against him, while shocking in itself, is more than justified in her eyes and in the eyes of the viewer who can feel for her soul. Lisbeth is a girl who's done nothing to deserve the bad things that have happened to her. But she's also a girl who's determined to rise above it all, even if it means she has to kill to do it.

Returning to the great mystery of this film for a moment, it's impossible to claim that it doesn't get a bit detailed and confusing for a time. That's not a bad thing, though. It just means you have to pay real close attention or even watch the film more than once. While the end resolution of who the killer actually turns out to be may be a bit on the "cliche psychological thriller of the 1990s" side, it's the resolution (and reunion) involving the long-lost Harriet that actually deserves attention, as it's not only unexpected but strangely satisfying, as well.

Just to briefly mention the other two films in the Swedish trilogy, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST, you may be surprised to find out that I've chosen not to include those films in my collection. While each of these films, admitedly, have some great moments in them, they are, in my opinion, nothing more than brand new episodes and adventures involving the same a James Bond film. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO concludes and resolves itself so well (including a triumphant Lisbeth ripping off the "bad guy" and leaving the county with his money) that I choose to leave the story as it is without starting over. That may make little sense to those of you who are fans of all three books and films, but hey, that's me!

Favorite line or dialogue

Mikael Blomkvist: "What has happened to you? How did you turn out this way? You know everything about me. I don't know shit about you. Not a damn thing."
Lisbeth Salander: "That's the way it is."


  1. You already know that I have seen both films and that each has it's unique merits. I didn't see a need for the English Language remake either except that it will bring the story to a much larger audience. Pointing our fingers at the audience and shaking them with irritation will not change their behavior. Without the remake, a lot of people will never get to know Lisbeth and that would be a shame.

  2. I'll be the first to admit that I'm pretty tyrannical when it comes to today's moviegoing audience, and I never apologize for my attitute. At the same time, however, I can't help but think the audience deserves to be treated with more respect and intelligence and that they ARE capable of embracing foreign subtitled films if given the time and the chance, without the need of an American remake.

    Go back to 1998 and remember how big the Italian film LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL (my first date with my wife!) was. It was an absolute smash with critics, audiences and the box office and to this day, hasn't been re-made by an American director.

    At first thought, I don't think I've ever seen an American remake of a foreign film that I considered to be superior, or even close to its original inspiration.

    Ah, but isn't it wonderful for eveyone to have their own opinions of thing?