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Saturday, February 11, 2012

A gem of a movie, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo




When I first read Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a couple of years or so ago, one of the first thoughts I had was what a great movie it would make. All the right ingredients were there: Fast-paced thriller, family drama, a deeply scarred young woman (Lisbeth Salander), a brilliant and flawed investigative reporter (Mikael Blomkvist). But what really intrigued me was what a movie might do with Lisbeth Salander, whom official society has labeled incompetent and in need of a guardian. 
I was right about its movie potential. Directed by David Fincher from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian, a dark ambient soundtrack by Trent Raznor and Atticus Ross and starring Daniel Craig & Rooney Mara in the roles of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the movie is an absolute gem. The music pulses, throbs, seduces and, in the final song, “Is your love strong enough”, expresses the ache in Lisbeth’s heart for someone whose love is strong enough to love her, and does it in a way that will bring tears to your eyes as it did mine.
Some people have said the movie is better than the book. Though they are quite different, I don’t agree that the movie is better. What Steven Zaillian’s screenplay does is pull the core drama of Larsson’s massive novel and condenses it into a dramatic masterpiece that takes two hours and thirty-eight minutes to watch. The novel is far more complex and massive than the story that revolves around the Vanger family.
I would love to see a movie of Lisbeth’s story as it is told in the second and third books of Larsson’s millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. Lisbeth Salander is one of the strongest and most intriguing women in fiction; definitely not one you want to get on the wrong side of.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a definite 5 star movie. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t show up among this year’s Oscar nominees. If you haven't  yet seen it, do. And do not leave until all of the credits have scrolled through, because the final song, "Is your love strong enough" is such a perfect finale, connected to the heart of that last poignant scene when Lisbeth throws away her gift to Mikael that it will bring tears to your eyes as it did mine.

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