Sunday 21 March 2010

Girl with the dragon tattoo

I got to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this week at a cinema in Chichester - the nearest to me that was showing it. It was worth the journey. Nice cinema apart from not having the sound properly calibrated, so the environmental sound and sometimes the music came from some very odd places some of the time.

I've read the books, and enjoyed them greatly. If you haven't read the books, you will want to know that the film thoroughly deserves its 18 rating. It has a rape scene, a torture scene, several assaults and several sets of crime scene photos that would make CSI blush.

It was a thoroughly professional production. It had three good things going for it. The first was Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. Nobody else should be allowed to play Salander now. Especially anybody in the inevitable American reproduction. She gets the look, the attitude and the motorbike dead right.

Second is the scenery. The cameraman really enjoyed himself filming this. The locations are stunning and the film makes the most of them - luscious forest, water and snow. Even the three minute segment set in Australia manages to find sensational and not typically Australian scenery.

And thirdly, and most impressively, the screenplay. The writers knew what they were doing. They remained faithful to the novel, but they concentrated on the main story. In the novel there is a lot of backfilling, giving us backgrounds to the main characters that Larsson obviously felt necessary for the story and for his intended purposes in subsequent parts of the trilogy. There are also several subplots, mostly involving Blomquist's active sex life. For the film the writers have stripped out all the subplots and nearly all the back story, and left just the lean stripped down story of the investigation. And it works beautifully.

Can't wait for the next one. (In Swedish.)

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