So I’ve just come back from the big-budget adaptation of the Swedish breakout thriller “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. I read the book about this time last year, I raced through the first third, then for reasons I can’t remember, took a long break before racing through the rest. They really are very good, and even if you aren’t into thrillers (which I’m not especially), they are well worth a look. Though read it before you see this, you’ll ruin the mystery.
It looked fantastic, let’s get that out first. The picture was crisp and clear, and the cold palette of the film (provided for the most part by a frigid Sweden) really fitted how I imagined the scenes in the book. This isn’t an Americanisation, the Swedishness is alive and well. That opening sequence, like a horrific remix of a Bond title sequence was dazzling, even if it didn’t really fit anything else, just looked amazing.
While I don’t think an adaptation needs to be constantly measured against its parent material, it’s usually impossible not to. As a fan of the book, I was pleased to see that aside from a few course corrections – some seemingly quite major in the scheme of things, but really just academic – and a few acceptable omissions, it kept pretty true to the book without losing its own identity.
So the casting now, and generally good, particularly Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth. Striking and watchable, and even with such a fierce character to play, didn’t resort to bitchy one-liners to define the character (though she had a few), and visibily softened during the film, something lovely to watch.
Daniel Craig was alright, even tried a Swedish accent for about 5 minutes, but ended up just sounding like Bond. Not sure why he was cast, he did fine but I think it was more about star power than anything. Joely Richardson was great to watch, as were most of the convincingly Swedish supporting cast (though curiously Swedish Stellan Skarsgård was the most American out of anyone). Special mention to most of the women, particularly scene-stealer Isabella Vanger, Goran Višnjić portaying a waxwork model of Phillip Schofield, and Jim from Neighbours aka Mr Widmore from Lost aka Mr Mead from Ugly Betty in a blind-siding cameo.
All in all, I think it was brilliant. I have SORT of seen the Swedish language original adaptation, but I was very tired and wasn’t quite with it. I got the box-set for Christmas so I’ll give it another bash soon.