The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Day 8.

Since my friends cried out in outrage upon hearing that an American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was being made, since the Swedish version was “amazing,” I decided to give the movie a look. On a side note, I wish Americans would stop being so closed-minded about foreign language films. I admit that I would prefer to watch a movie in English because I can pay full attention to what is happening on-screen, but there are so many great foreign films. Plus, everyone knows the original is almost always better than the remake.

Anyways, this movie is a good thriller, even though it is a bit dark and gritty for my personal taste. There is a great balance between the two mysteries of who killed Harriet and who is Lisbeth Salander. The ending was not totally unexpected, but still fairly surprising. I suspected that Gottfried had been killed, but I certainly didn’t think Harriet was the culprit. Even though the movie didn’t totally explain why the Vanger family was obsessed with killing people, this is one unanswered question I am okay with. (It also makes me want to read the book because I’m sure it provides a more in-depth explanation). Like Blomkvist said, some people are just “sick in the head.” And Martin Vanger was definitely one of the sickest. The scene in which he talks about his victims’ disappointment when they realize they are going to die is disturbing and made me feel as though I was gaining insight into a serial killer’s mind.

The only tiny issue I have with this film is the ending. It was a bit cookie cutter and fairy tale ending, especially considering the violence earlier in the film.

As for Lisbeth, she is a character who I certainly didn’t like, but I also didn’t dislike, a feat which is hard to manage. Maybe because of her aura of badass and darkness, it was somewhat believable that she would be okay with hearing a tape of herself getting raped. The scene in which Blomkvist states that while she didn’t save Martin, she did save his life, was an important reminder for me that she did have some proverbial “good” in her. My curiosity about her background and what made her into the tough person she is will probably lead me to watch the rest of the trilogy.

3 thoughts on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  1. The ending isn’t as cookie cutter as you think. The other two films in the series are sequels. However, if you thought this one was grisly, then you don’t want to see the next two. They both get to be a bit much on blood and gore. What I like about the movie is the contrast between the movie’s two protagonists: you have Blomkvist who prefers every motive to be in the open while Lisbeth prefers to lurk in the darkness. I also like Lisbeth because she’s such an anti-hero. She really acts for her own reasons, not for the common good. I also like how the film portrayed her as a victim but not so much as a hero. I was afraid her brutal rape would be lost in the story and she would get revenge on the guy and then act as if it never happened, but its is a central point of the trilogy. I know, it’s kind of like an “of course it is” since Stieg Larsson wrote the books and the movies need it as a plot point in order to make all three films, but I thought it was done well. She doesn’t bounce back quickly, she’s afraid, she doesn’t think she’ll get justice, she worries about her attraction to Blomkvist or if she is even attracted to Blomkvist and at the end, of the first movie anyway, its unresolved. The use of light and dark in the film was done well too, as well as the camera angles, but I’ll save that for another time, since this comment is getting really long. Anyways, you should watch more foreign films with me once we get back to school. One you’ve seen enough, its like you are watching in english. You catch all the details of the action and some of the nuances of the language. BTW, if you’re looking for another gritty thriller, you should watch Oldboy.

  2. I watched the trilogy in its entirety, and it does get a little blah by the third one, admittedly. But The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remains my favorite because Noomi Rapace portrays Lisbeth as a shelled-in and distant character but with glimpses of human affection. She isn’t completely good but we as an audience understand and sympathize why she is the way she is. She’s fascinating and enigmatic but not overplayed.

    And definitely check out Oldboy. Much more twisted and sick, but in the best way possible. -Lynn

    1. I totally agree with you about Lisbeth. She’s one of those anti-hero characters, but she’s still so human and understandable, rather than being a flat character. I may add Oldboy to my list since the only version of Two Women I can find is dubbed in English.

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