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Sunday, 14 March 2010

Film - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Star rating – 8/10

Admission time - I am one of the international army of adoring fans of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy – and I think whether or not you have read the books will obviously colour your view of this Swedish attempt at bringing it to the big screen. (Not that I am particularly looking forward to the Hollywood version currently in production you understand). And it is a fairly faithful adaptation – save that some of the enormous detail obviously has to be omitted in the film.

The two central characters, Mikael Blomkvist, the left wing campaigning journalist falling foul of the law in his crusading exposés of huge corporations; and Lisbeth Salander, the obviously damaged yet brilliant computer hacker, are played faithfully and totally in keeping with their literary characters by Michael Nyqvist and Nomie Rapace. Both are totally believable, flawed people that draw the viewer into their different worlds.

He answers an unusual plea from a former captain of industry to help him solve the riddle of his niece who went missing, now presumed murdered, over 40 years before. And Lisbeth Salander cannot help herself from getting drawn into the action.

If anything the film fails to get across just how brilliant Salander really is at getting any data she wants from any computer, no matter how well protected the information is. By the same token the principled nature of Blomkvist’s character, and just how much he is prepared to suffer and give up for his principles does not come across in its entirety. In a way though I am perhaps just nit picking., and trying to find fault to prove that I can review this film with an objective eye, having loved the book and its companion volumes so much.

The violence, particularly the sexual violence and many images of murdered women is much harder to take when it is produced in celluloid. But it is not overdone here, just more startling in this different medium., and stays true to the violence in the book.

The cinematography is great, capturing the stark barren Swedish landscapes in winter beautifully. The film is long at over 2 and a half hours, but this is an epic tale, with so many threads hinted at here which are still to be developed in the next two instalments – and I for one can’t wait.

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