The Girls With The Dragon Tattoos

Contributor; Queens, New York (@jaceycockrobin)
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The Girls With The Dragon Tattoos
The higher-ups at ScreenAnarchy have been kind enough to allow me to cross-promote a post I wrote over at LitReactor on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It is a comparison piece in which I break down all three versions- the book and both film adaptations- in an attempt to determine which one is superior. Basically, I'm trying to come to terms with my own complicated feeling on the subject. I know there are a lot of differing opinions on both films here at ScreenAnarchy, so I look forward to you all telling me how wrong I am. Enjoy.

WARNING: May contain wall-to-wall spoilers

Lisbeth Salander is a complicated woman. As portrayed in Stieg Larsson's best-selling Millennium Trilogy, she is a gothed-out computer hacker who is as anti-social as she is intelligent. She harbors extreme hostility towards abusive men, which stems from having witnessed her father beat her mother into a vegetative state as a child. After attempting to immolate the man in retaliation, she is declared legally incompetent and placed under psychiatric care. When we are first introduced to her in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, she is working for a major security firm and has just completed a background check on a certain well-known magazine publisher.

As if one murderous misfit wasn't handful enough, we now have three to contend with- the Lisbeth Salander of Larsson's novel, the Noomi Rapace iteration, and Rooney Mara's take in the recent Fincher film. Although at the core they are essentially the same woman, there are subtle character nuances that set the three apart. Add to that the narrative differences between the novel and the two films, and things start to get really confusing, really fast.

You can read the whole thing over at LitReactor.
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Ard VijnJanuary 10, 2012 4:59 AM

In the shots above Noomi looks like the one to fear getting mad.

cruznickJanuary 10, 2012 2:15 PM

swedish version is hands down the superior film version. sure the fincher one is slick and beautiful like black ice. but ultimately the swedish version captures the genuine spirit. rooney gives it her all - problem is she's not experienced enough (still looks like a trust fund baby with a trendy tackle box face) to really draw out what rapace does effortlessly, and that is making you FEEL the anger and *believe* it. rooney "looks good" playing the part - but we don't buy it and that a integral component of the larsson's work and it's the magic and wonderment that is the character of lisbeth. the "new ending" wasn't an improvement and why on earth not give lisbeth's character credit about the biblical meanings that break the case instead of the daughter? i love the way the fincher film looked, trent's music is perfect, loved the opening credits the best really . . . but ultimately it's just like another hollywood movie - all eye candy and a visual experience. whereas we must look to foregin film makers for the real "meat" us more carnivorous film goers appreciate. i too had a hard on waiting for this film which in the end, left me limp. true test - i didn't even think about it after i saw it. just more hollywood cotton candy for the masses and it quite disappointing the dumbed down version. made for america, what did i expect?

cruznickJanuary 10, 2012 2:19 PM

i apologize for my typos, but unfortunately i never proof read until alas 'tis too late. but i do know how to spell foreign. :-(

Joshua ChaplinskyJanuary 10, 2012 3:03 PM

I think both actresses were great, but I loved Mara in the role.

As for the biblical references, it's Blomkvist's daughter who figures it out in the book, like in Fincher's film. Not that I mind that they changed it in the Swedish version.

I'm not going to reiterate all my points, but I don't see Fincher's film as Hollywood fluff or dumbed down. Both films have their flaws, as does the novel.

theautomatikAugust 20, 2012 8:30 PM

I just found this via your Cosmopolis piece. I found this to be an interesting discussion, as I'm someone who loves the books and movies and is fairly obsessed with Lisbeth in general.

For me, I think Fincher's film captures the LOOK better than the Swedish films. I think Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth is more visceral, but it doesn't capture Lisbeth's inner fragility - this is not due to Rapace's lack of skills; on the contrary, it's totally due to the script and the director. Mara portrays more of Lisbeth's inner workings, which is something that is much more obvious in the books, so the script and Fincher's direction did a better job of capturing it.

Mara looks like the Lisbeth as described in the book, but I think realistically speaking, Rapace's physicality makes Lisbeth's shows of strength more believable.

By the way, I think Mara is gorgeous, but I'd much prefer to stare at Rapace's glorious ass. ;P

Less Lee Moore

Joshua ChaplinskyAugust 20, 2012 10:31 PM

Haha, great comment.