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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Posted by on Jan 10th, 2012 and filed under Latest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

First off, I haven’t read the book or seen the original movie, so I approached this as I would any other modern thriller. I expected excitement, tension, and a satisfying setup & denouement played out by believable characters. At the very least, director David Fincher delivers all those, plus a pinch of perversion and a hefty dollop of self-revulsion.

The focus here is Lisbeth Salander, a socially disconnected heroine shaping her own morality after a lifetime’s abuse at the hands of men – father, foster father, counsellor, even the legal guardian controlling her finances. Her life has been a hell, but she exacts a very precise revenge for their exploitation and seems in total control of her existence in all ways bar one: she wants to connect, to forge a lasting bond with another soul.

But this is Sweden, a buttoned-up society were atrocities can float beneath the glacial surface for decades with no-one willing to break the ice. The plot picks out just the one horror story - the four-decade old murder of Harriet, favourite niece of ageing industrial giant Henrik Vanger, who wants answers before he dies. To this end he employs a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist. Although a reknowned investigator, Blomkvist has just fallen on the wrong end of a libel case and needs to get away. Where better than an island populated by a bitter family living behind many walls of silence, any one of which could hide a murderer?

It’s a movie about men and the impact of their control, whether unconscious or otherwise, which is, respectively, how Mikael and the murderer select the women in their lives. The murderer deliberately plucks from a nomadic pool by necessity, but Mikael really has no idea why flip-flopping between Lisbeth and his boss might be detrimental to either woman. In the sense of needless emotional cruelty the two men are almost the same, and I walked out of the cinema very much ashamed to be a man, very impressed with Lisbeth Salander’s ability to translate pain into action, very touched by her reach for intimacy, and very disappointed by Mikael’s inability to grasp it.

Not an everyday thriller, then, but it still has guns, a car chase, and a big explosion. It won’t win many Oscars, but for 150 minutes it’ll disturb as much as thrill, and you’ll never hear Enya’s ‘Orinoco Flow’ in quite the same way again.



2 Responses for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

  1. Isambard says:

    I’ve seen the original movie and read all three books, bet that surprised you. The film didn’t do justice to the book, so I would recommend you revisit them. Much too much detail for any film unless it was 15 hours long.

    • roomybonce says:

      Actually it didn’t surprise me, as I know you’re a sucker for Scandinavian TV ‘tecs. I’ve bought the book on me phone and Laura’s got the rest in paperback. But I think you should start a blog to showcase your hidden writerly talents. Go on , have a go.


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