The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run Time 152 Minutes.
Not for Children.
Scion of a wealthy family, Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil
Taube) is obsessed with the disappearance of his niece, Harriet (Ewa
Fröling), 37 years ago. He hires disgraced financial journalist Mikael
Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvest) to investigate. Mikael brings Lisbeth
Salander (Noomi Rapace), a genius with the computer, to help him.
Salander is one of the more unique protagonists one will ever see. She
is tattooed and thoroughly pierced with rings through her nose and ears
and other places.
This film, directed by Niels Arden Opiev, is
based on the bestselling novel by Stieg Larsson, who wrote two sequels
and then died of a sudden heart attack in 2004 at the age of 50. His
trilogy made him the world’s second bestselling author in 2008.
While the book concentrated on Blomkvist as the
protagonist, the film makes the story about Salander, and that’s
probably a good decision. There are scenes of sexual depravity and
torture that almost got the film an X rating. But the scenes aren’t that
graphic and leave lots to the imagination.
While this is a good murder mystery, it is an
even better film about a strong woman who refuses to be a victim. Rapace
gives a stirring performance as the weird, disadvantaged woman helping
Unfortunately, this well-made film is burdened
by horrible subtitles that often blend in with the background. It
boggles my mind that filmmakers allow white subtitles over a white
background. Why can’t all subtitles be like those in “The Baader-Meinhof
Gang,” which were superb, large white subtitles with a black border so
they can blend with any background? Since it can clearly be
accomplished, why do filmmakers still insist on subtitles that are often
illegible? Is it laziness or cheapness?
While not nearly as good as the book, this is
still an entertaining film, despite its length. Maybe if I hadn’t read
the book I would have given it a higher rating. But maybe if I had read
“From Here to Eternity” before I saw the film, I wouldn’t think that
film one of the best, either.