Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movies: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The best is the enemy of the good. This is also true with movies. Recently I watched both versions of the  "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" (German version: "Verblendung", which means "Dazzlement"). First I saw David Fincher`s interpretation, which runs now in U.S. cinema theaters, than the Swedish original "Män som hatar kvinnorby" by Niels Arden Oplev (Netflix download), which I didn`t know before. To say it shortly, I like the U.S. version more. This may be a bit unfair because Hollywood star Fincher had the greater budget and could spend a lot more money on everything, including the cast and the cinematography.

The plot is based on the so-called "Millennium Trilogy" by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, a far left wing writer who claimed that Sweden is a fascistic dictatorship. Anyway,  both movies are highly entertaining and tell the thrilling story of a journalist (character named Michael Bloomquist) who investigates the fate of a girl, who disappeared around 40 years ago. With the help of the character Lisbeth Salander he exposes a lot of sinister secrets of the missing girl`s extremely wealthy family.  Almost the whole plot plays on an distant Swedish island, which belongs to this family and is only inhabited by family members.

The defining difference between both flicks are the actresses who happen to incarnate the character of Lisbeth Salander: Rooney Mara (U.S.version) and Noomi Rapace. The girl is the center of the movie and operates as free lance investigator and gifted hacker. The extremely smart woman dresses in the usual punk outfit, usually with a hood on her head and wears piercings in her face and - of course - a large dragon tattoo on her back.

Comparing both incarnations I prefer Rooney Mara, introduced by Fincher in his "Social Network" (Zuckerberg`s restricted girlfriend, who split with him in the opening scene). Again: The best is the enemy of the good. Mara is definitely more beautiful and cooler than Rapace. Her cat-like movements and her slim, sleek and well exercised body fits perfectly. Mara`s aesthetical but tough appearance makes her role as a girl fighting fiercely for her rights more believable. Seeing first Mara as the character Lisbeth Salander I cannot really understand the cult which focuses on Noomi Rapace´s Lisbeth.

I also prefer Daniel Craig (btw the 2nd best James Bond behind Sir Sean Connery) as the investigating journalist Blomkist because he seems to me a bit more cooler & tougher than Michael Nyqvist in the original.

The cinematography and the editing of the U.S. version also show that Fincher could burn more money than the creator of the original. It´s a pleasure to watch the sceneries on the family owned islands and other pictures created by the U.S. director and his cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth ("Social Network", "Fight Club"). The film music, composed by Trent Reznor & Atticus Reznor, fits perfect to the sinister ambience of the flick.

Both directors aren`t afraid to show a lot of violence and sexual graphic scenes. The movies aren`t for the faint hearted. They display torture and sexual violence including a forced blow job and an anal rape. But these scenes are necessary to transform the plot and fit to its dire topic.

Notwithstanding all the differences and my preferences I regard both versions as well done and worth seeing.

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