Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becomes Americanized :(

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011Steven ZaillanDavid FincherRooney Mara,Daniel Craig,Christopher Plummer,Stellan SkarsgårdSteig Larsson Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Girl with the Dragon Tattoo(2011)

After some of the best movie posters, teaser trailer and various promotional materials we’ve seen for a movie, “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” has finally arrived. When it was announced there was much trepidation here at Bitter Balcony, because we were sure that no one could top the work that Noomi Rapace did as Lisbeth Salander. While we weren’t right, we weren’t right either, but it’s not for the reason we thought.

Naturally, comparisons between the Swedish version and the US version are going to be made. While the movie wasn’t a remake of the Swedish film per se it is an adaption to novel that had already been adapted to film. And as such comparisons are justified since we are given the choice on which to rewatch based on which film was better. The US version of the film does three things differently than the original: It has a different structure for the first act, it has various changes to some components of the story, and it has a different dynamic for the relationship between the two main characters.

1. The first act is different from the Swedish film and the novel. The novel has a very long and drawn out first act and it takes a considerable amount of time before we get to meet the stories most interesting character, Lisbeth Salander. The US version outdoes the previous two versions in this regard. The beginning is speedy, we get to the point quickly, meet the central characters and enter the main portion of the story by the time a proper first act would have come to its completion.

2. The US version of the film does a much better at subtly foreshadowing the events to come in a way that those of us who know the story can see it, but those that don’t will notice on a second viewing.

3. The relationship between the main characters is where this film fails miserably. The dynamic between Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist is really the only thing in this story that is worth watching. The murder/mystery parts aren’t nearly as interesting as any other story of this kind, but the odd structure of Lisbeth and Mikael is both intriguing and original. The US version takes this relationship and waters it down to a more acceptable traditional male and female role where the man is in charge and the woman is the one hoping for romance. The first time the two sleep together seems forced and uncalled for. In the Swedish version you can see where it came from. Anyone who has watched the Swedish version can tell you that the one thing Mikael wasn’t was in control of the relationship. Lisbeth called the shots and Mikael felt lucky to get whatever he could from it. There is no malice in his taking advantage of the situation and she uses sex to connect in a way that only such a damaged character can see as a way to connect while also getting her rocks off.

Rooney Mara does a commendable job as Lisbeth Salander, but the script doesn’t give her the same meat as the Swedish version of the script. She is a tough chick and while she does make a connection to Blomkvist it is never in a needy way or even openly spoken about. She see’s that he is a decent man, amongst bastards in the way she views the world, but she never makes any illusions as to what is going on. Plus, the last time we see Lisbeth in the Swedish version of the film she is left as a mysterious badass, but some needy teenage girl.

Needless to say, the Fincher version of the film is more than a tad disappointing. We got some great punk rock advertising out of it that had an edge the film seriously lacked. While the interviews lead you to believe that they kept wanting more edge only the advertising department got the memo. Stick to the Swedish version for an edgier and more interesting watch.

Soundtrack note: For all the want of this film to be edgy the soundtrack really isn't, with the exception of the beginning credits.


Girl with the Dragon Tattoo2011Steven ZaillanDavid FincherRooney Mara,Daniel Craig,Christopher Plummer,Stellan SkarsgårdSteig Larsson  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo2011Steven ZaillanDavid FincherRooney Mara,Daniel Craig,Christopher Plummer,Stellan SkarsgårdSteig Larsson 

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