By Caroline Nelissen
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – Based on the first book of the best-selling Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson – and following a succesful Swedish movie adaptation – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher, had a lot to live up to.
As I have never read any of the books – and only watched a few snippets of the 2009 movie adaptation – I was not at all sure what to expect, but I wasn’t disappointed.
The movie follows the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who is asked by a retired executive to investigate the involvement of several members of the Vanger family in the disappearance of his niece in the 1960s.
He is assisted by the unconventional Lisbeth Salander, a skillful young hacker who has been ruled legally incompetent and rides a kick-ass motorcycle.
I was surprised at how well Fincher managed to give his movie a somewhat Swedish feel, even though it is an American adaptation.
In my opinion this is a good thing, as I think no setting lends itself better for this kind of grim story than a desolate and wintery Swedish island. Moreover, the European atmosphere of the movie is definitely aided by the very sparse use of American accents and the pace at which the plot moves along.
It took quite a bit of time for the story to finally grab me, as the beginning is pretty slow – except from a few rather graphic scenes involving Lisbeth and her new legal guardian. However, from the moment Blomkvist and Salander finally pair up, it’s pretty captivating. Still, I must admit that I had expected a bit more originality in terms of plot considering the hype surrounding the book and other movie adaptation.
I have been told by some fans to turn to the books to see the story unfold in its amazing completeness – and I definitely intend to do so.
The acting in the movie is great and Daniel Craig delivers a solid performance as the slightly gloomy Blomkvist.
Rooney Mara, who played was nominated for an Academy Award in the category “Best Actress in a Leading Role” for her role in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo– and rightly so.
With her portrayal of the tough yet vulnerable Lisbeth, she manages evoke a great deal of empathy for the character, who at one moment can seem disturbed almost to the point of unlikeability, while other times, her unadjusted behavior earned some brief chuckles from the audience – a rare occurrence during this otherwise heavy movie.