So how many times have I blogged about this blasted film without ever getting close to reviewing it? Let’s just say that it’s been a few blogs too many. And what shall I call it, now that I have actually – actually – watched it? The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or Män som hatar kvinnor? I may go for MSHK on the basis that it’s the shortest. The curse against me, or against the film, continued to be operational even after the DVD arrived, as various things conspired to prevent me sitting down to watch immediately.
Now I have. And I was even accompanied for most of the time by the Residential IT Consultant who wasn’t going to watch, on account that he wouldn’t understand it. He watched, he understood most of it, and he cried at the end. So things are as they should be.
It’s a lot easier reading about all this misogyny and violence than it is to watch on screen. I tend to forget how violent the books are, but I’m grateful I had read MSHK before seeing the film, or I would have had far more problems watching the ‘bad stuff’.
The film is surprisingly true to the book, and even though it’s a long film at nearly two and a half hours, it doesn’t feel as if too much has been left out. It marches through what it needs to do without hesitating and it gets to the end, and even begins to look at book two a little. That may not be a bad thing, as I gather number two is in Swedish cinemas on 18th September, with number three close behind on 27th November.
Mikael Blomkvist is less soft than I had imagined him, but other than that, most of the characters are as described in the book. It’s weird having a previously handsome young man like Sven-Bertil Taube as the elderly Vanger, but actors do grow old. Noomi Rapace is really good as Lisbeth Salander. Someone has remarked that she doesn’t come across as having Asperger Syndrome, but that’s not surprising in a film. Not only would it be harder to show, but it might put people off. It’s not essential, as her personality shows very clearly anyway.
I have also seen a suggestion that Erika Berger looks too old in the film, but I wonder if people have been seduced to expect Hollywood youth and beauty from the book, where characters are simply fairly ordinary. Lisbeth, for instance is no seductive bimbo, but a damaged and badly treated young woman with exceptional skills. And we couldn’t help wondering where Hollywood might find a suitable landscape for all this. The scenery is beautiful, but at the same time quite ordinary for Sweden.
It’s a film worth waiting for, although I’d be quite grateful if I don’t have the same delays for the next two. And speaking of people who are older than they used to be; Björn Granath played the old policeman. He was younger when we held hands, all those years ago…