The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson
Wealthy retired businessman Henrik Vanger hires disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist to investigate the mysterious 1966 disappearance of his favorite grandniece, Harriet. Blomkvist is aided in his investigation by a deeply troubled but genius young hacker by the name of Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo).
I know this is a very popular book & film series. I read the first book a few years ago. Yes, I thought it was good. The mystery was very compelling & I read the thing really quickly because I couldn’t wait to find out what had actually happened to Harriet Vanger. Top marks for the mystery! And then there was the character of Lisbeth Salander. Such an intriguing character! As I’ve only read the first book, I don’t know much about her. I didn’t enjoy the first book enough to read the rest but, if I ever do, it will only be to read more about her character & what happens to her & Blomkvist. You find out very little about her in the first one – I hope her character is more fully explored in the rest?
As for the movie, it follows the novel very closely from what I remember other than (naturally) having to leave some things out to save on time. In the novel, the Vanger family is huge and so complex – I remember there was a family tree in the book that I had to keep going back to when I couldn’t remember who someone was in relation to everyone else. The movie seemed to leave a lot of this out but I think it still managed to be a bit confusing for viewers who hadn’t read the novel beforehand. I found all of the Vanger family members very underdeveloped in the film and was glad I’d read the book first so I had a bit more understanding of each of them.
The film focuses much more on the far more interesting characters of Mikael Blomkvist & Lisbeth Salander. Which is fine as they’re the main characters in all the books (um, right?) but I think the intriguing mystery suffers a little bit in the film – it was much more exciting in the book. Part of this is me, though – I often don’t enjoy a film as much when it’s an adaptation of a book I’ve already read. And I get annoyed when the film isn’t faithful to the book but then get a little bored when it IS as it’s then an inferior version of what I’ve already “seen” in my head. Plus, with a mystery, once you know how it ends there’s not as much excitement in hearing the story again, I suppose.
As for the actors, they all do a fine job. Yes, Noomi Rapace is very good – I know she’s been praised for the role. When looking this up for the review, I found it interesting that the title of this in Swedish, Män som hatar kvinnor, is “Men Who Hate Women”. Yes, that title makes sense. Lisbeth Salander has some kind of horrible history that’s hinted at in the film. And then there’s all the raping… Yes, lots of that. This is why I wasn’t really planning on reading the rest of the books and I’m not sure if I’m bothered about the rest of the films or not, although I’d like to know more about Lisbeth. Plus, there’s not enough hacking for my liking! She’s this brilliant hacker but they don’t go into that TOO much in the book or the film. I’m hoping there’s much more of this in the further books/films? I’d like far more hacking & far less raping. And Lisbeth kicking more ass. Will I get these things? Do you recommend I at least watch the further films? (Doubt I’ll bother with the books but I may enjoy the films more that way anyway).
A very compelling mystery that’s not explored in near as much detail in the film as in the novel, which I found a little disappointing. The family who are a part of this mystery are underdeveloped in the film. But the mystery kind of only really serves as a backdrop to the two main and much more interesting characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander anyway – I was satisfied with their portrayals in the film. There are very disturbing themes in the film that I can’t fully go into in case you’re one of the only people left who doesn’t know a thing about these books or films. Overall, this “genre” has just never been my sort of thing. The book & film ARE better than I’m making it sound and I suppose I would recommend them. If you’re not easily disturbed by misogynistic violence…
I hope Lisbeth kicks more ass in the further films.
My Rating: 7/10
**This was the second place choice when I asked all of you which film I should review next. First place review is here: Exit Through The Gift Shop.
Thanks again for all your input. 🙂 Up next will be The Man Who Fell To Earth.
You should have written this in Swedish!!
FYI – the second one is pretty good and the third one is pretty boring. NEVER bother with the American remake – it’s horseshit.
I don’t know Swedish but I maybe could have done “Swedish Chef”. 🙂 I have the others recorded so I suppose I’ll watch them at some point. I thought the American one was meant to be okay? I hate when they remake films because people just don’t want to read subtitles, though.
Notice I posted a picture of the dude in his underwear so I could use the underwear tag? 😉
LOL – I noticed the tag but thought the pic of the dude was him in his Swedish style casual shorts.
If those are the shorts men wear in Sweden, I’m moving there!
Or not. I take that back – I don’t wanna see that every day. Especially if I’m trying to eat lunch or something. Ew.
That would be way too much scrotum for lunch……
It would certainly taint my meal.
This movie was so much more visceral than the remake. You touched on it well here, but the rape part…Jesus it’s horrible. I couldn’t finish the remake because I had invested so much of myself in the original films (all of them, and they are all so long!).
FYI, I haven’t read the books and found the beginning of this film pretty hard to follow at first. And nice review! Ernie.
Thanks. 🙂 Well, I did think the book was better than the film but I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to read any of them after seeing the films. There are SO many in the Vanger family in the book – It was hard to keep track! Yes, the rape was a bit too much for me. And too violent overall. Are the further films as excessive?
No I don’t think so (was 2010 when I saw them all!), and the final film plays out as a courtroom drama really. Flashbacks and whatnot. I remember being blown away by the final movie.
That’s good to hear – I think I will check the rest out at some point. 🙂
Agreed on the visceral nature in the rape scenes of the book dissuading me from continuing. ‘m not a woman, nor am I squeamish, but at some point, it really just feels like snuff, so I’m out. I also thought the book was very unevenly paced, especially since the mystey is wrapped up and there’s still at east 50 pages of Blomqvist trying to clear his name/get the other businessman in trouble… WE JUST EXPLORED AN UNSOLVED MURDER? WHO CARES ABOUT WHITE COLLAR CRIME?
The movie did a pretty good job of being faithful to the book, and in my opinion, that is the highest praise you can give an adaptation.
Yes, the movie was very faithful, which I always appreciate. And, yes! – I’ve not even touched on the other whole story of Blomkvist trying to clear his name blah blah blah. I really didn’t find that very interesting in the book (or film). That’s right – the “good” mystery suddenly got wrapped up so quickly – I now remember wondering what was left as there was so much left to read after that…
Great review again. 7/10 is what I’d give it too. I haven’t seen the remake though, is it any good?
I don’t know – I haven’t seen it either. 😉 Although Eric above says its shit!
Oh, sorry – he actually said “horseshit”. 😉
That changes everything!