Movie-A-Day #413: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Chaplin

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Cast:
Michael Nyqvist - Mikael Blomkvist
Noomi Rapace - Lisbeth Salander
Lena Endre - Erika Berger
Sven-Bertil Taube - Henrik Vanger
Peter Haber - Martin Vanger
Peter Andersson - Nils Bjurman
Marika Lagercrantz - Cecilia Vanger
Ingvar Hirdwall - Dirch Frode

Critic's Review:
Adapting a best-seller for the screen is normally a safe bet for a studio, but a decidedly risky proposition for a director. While there is a considerable built-in audience that is virtually guaranteed to buy a ticket, many of those viewers are predisposed to criticize the film because of its inevitable differences from the book. While the most dedicated fans of Stieg Larsson's international best-seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will find enough discrepancies in Niels Arden Oplev's film to help them achieve their nitpicking fix, it is difficult to imagine anyone exiting the theater feeling disappointed by this riveting thriller. Regardless of the story, readers know that the film will succeed or fail on the basis of its depiction of the book's most memorable character, the punk-rock Sherlock Lisbeth Salander, an investigator extraordinaire who prefers black leather, a spiked collar, and Doc Martens to her predecessor's cape coat, deerstalker hat, and loafers. Lisbeth is utterly embodied by Swedish starlet Noomi Rapace, who did a "De Niro" to prepare for the role by getting several real piercings, studying kickboxing and motorcycle riding, and losing a dangerous amount of weight to shrink into Lisbeth's skinny frame. Beneath the stoic composure required by Salander's extreme social estrangement, Rapace masterfully conveys her character's complex mixture of violence and vulnerability, often using only expression, gesture, and tone. Rapace's presence as Lisbeth is more of a manifestation than a performance, an astonishing achievement that is even more impressive considering the overwhelming global expectations for the role. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev (To Verdener) does an equally impressive disappearing act, as he resists the urge to immerse Larsson's pitch-dark plot with superfluous violence and cinematic flash. The film features one searing scene of a vicious assault against Salander that is absolutely harrowing and hard to watch, but Oplev (and Larsson) later reverse the positions of power to produce one of the most memorable scenes of redemptive violence in film history. These two scenes are so skillfully balanced against one another that their resonance of male aggression and its repercussions carries through the rest of the film, allowing Oplev to forego the necessity for further graphic depictions. After establishing this tone of grim urgency, the director uses the tools of his trade to meticulously heighten the tension and embellish the literary plot with injections of pure cinema, such as when Mikael Blomkvist (played with sedate determination by Michael Nyqvist) uses new technology to conjure a ghost from a series of old photographs. As the protagonists dig deeper into the central mystery, the scope and gravity of the crime accumulates and the pressure builds to a striking climax that flirts with Hollywood convention just long enough to enhance the shock and delight of its eventual vicissitude. Those who have never read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be mesmerized by the addictive mystery at its center, involving Nazis, biblical murders, and a family that forever redefines dysfunction. Those who already know the solution to the mystery can still relish Noomi Rapace's impeccable rendition of Lisbeth Salander while they scrutinize the screen for disparities that might drag it down below the novel on the imaginary scale of universal artistic quality. But this outstanding film is all that could be hoped for from such a prominent adaptation, which means that there will be plenty of room beneath it on that artistic scale for the inevitable Hollywood remake. ~ Phillip Maher, Rovi

My Review:
What a film. One of my favorite films of 2010, this adaptation of the best-seller is a real tour de force. Closely following the novel, it features an amazing performance by Noomi Rapace, currently one of the best actresses working. At this point, I will see anything she appears in.

The story is a convoluted murder mystery surrounding journalist Mikael Blomkvist, played with an everyman quality by Michael Nyqvist. In the course of his investigation of a decades-old cold case, he brings in hacker Lisbeth Salander, and their friendship becomes the backbone of the film.

It's also a tough film to watch. Considering that many people don't like subtitled foreign films, that might be one turn-off. But like the novel, there is an undercurrent of violence against women, as detailed in some brutal scenes with Rapace and Ingvar Hirdwall as Dirch Frode. Never has revenge been so sweet as when Salander gets back at Frode for his horrible crimes.

The cinematography and directing must be mentioned, as both take full advantage of the actors and the beautiful countryside of Sweden. Just a great movie all around.

Trivia:
Noomi Rapace took her motorcycle license as a preparation for the movie.

Lisbeth Salander's hacking program on her notebook is called ASPHYXIA (Greek for suffocation).

In an interview on the BBC Breakfast programme, Noomi Rapace stated she prepared for seven months for her role. She was on a strict diet, took kick boxing lessons and had her eyebrow and nose pierced.

When having dinner at Martin Vanger's house, Mikael is offered a 21 Year old whiskey. This is Bushmills 21 year old single malt, the oldest Irish single malt whiskey available as of release.

All music for this film and its 2 sequels was recorded in just 4 days. According to composer Jacob Groth, the note sheets for the orchestra weighed 33 kilos.

Lisbeth's mother, Agneta, is played by Nina Norén, who is the real mother of Noomi Rapace.
 

Cardinals.Ken

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It's also a tough film to watch. Considering that many people don't like subtitled foreign films, that might be one turn-off.

This is the only reason I haven't watched this film. It's not because I don't like subtitled films, it's because I hate pausing to either:
- rewind so someone can reread what was just said
- to somehow explain the context of what was just said

If there was a dubbed version, I'd check it out.
 

Suns_fan69

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Watched this recently and I thought it was fantastic. Rapace and Nyqvist were great together and it was much easier to watch than I thought it would be.

I haven't read the book but I think I'll pick it up at some point in the future.
 
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Chaplin

Chaplin

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Watched this recently and I thought it was fantastic. Rapace and Nyqvist were great together and it was much easier to watch than I thought it would be.

I haven't read the book but I think I'll pick it up at some point in the future.

:thumbup:

Book is great too. The movie is a great adaptation of it.
 
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