Tag Archives: Noomi Rapace

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, take two

It wasn’t bad. In fact, it was pretty good. The American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was as enjoyable as the Swedish original, despite what I said about it earlier. I still don’t hold with the need to make a ‘proper’ American film of every foreign success, but that doesn’t mean they are poor copies.

As Mrs Pendolino said, the film was faithful to the book. Although how she knows this is a mystery. It was as faithful as the first film, which means most of it but not all. You can’t use the excuse that a long book needs to be cut in order to fit into a normal length film. Because if you did, you couldn’t explain away the extra bits that were never in the book.

We were fascinated by the accents. Here they go and make a proper US film and they have the actors speak as though they were a little bit Swedish. That’s everyone but Stellan Skarsgård, who as a true Swede spoke Americanised English the way he always does. (OK, there were a few real Swedes of lesser Hollywood standing who also sounded Swedish.)

The landscape was a wee bit bleak at times. A true Nordic film maker would know that you can be bleak in mind and in meaning, while still providing beautiful sunny landscapes for the eye. The cottage was rather dreamy, but maybe Hollywood believes in large and elegant cottages.

And the seasons! They were strange seasons. All right with some autumn to begin with. Then Christmas. Also fine. Followed later by autumn leaves on the trees, when it ought to have been spring. No summer to speak of, so I’m guessing they didn’t film over a whole year.

Rooney Mara was a great Lisbeth Salander. I didn’t think it would be possible for her to match Noomi Rapace, but she did. Even James Bond as Mikael Blomkvist was all right. Most people were OK in their roles, but seasonal disorder notwithstanding, it’s the landscape that wins. And you don’t get that in California.

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

What happened to Mikael’s stint in jail? Cleaned up? At least they ended the film the same as the book! None of this being careful with Lisbeth’s feelings.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I think I’ve got it now. There is nothing like watching a film again. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which has just arrived in Britain, and at Cornerhouse, was pretty much the same this time round. But I think I worked out why it’s not doing well with the (male) reviewers that I’ve read.

This is very much Men Who Hate Men Who Hate Women, if you’re with me? The film of Stieg Larsson’s novel is the opposite way round to the traditional crime/thriller/adventure story. I think that may be why I like it, and that may also be why men like it less, even though they could be unaware of the reason.

Mikael Blomkvist might be a hero and he’s fairly intelligent. But it’s Lisbeth Salander who does all the cool stuff. She’s the really intelligent one, she’s the one who is violent, she’s the one who calls the shots on relationship issues. Lisbeth rescues Mikael (sorry about the spoiler, but you should know this by now), and Lisbeth decides if she wants to sleep with him. She runs after the murderer. She rigs up the security in the cottage. Lisbeth gets to ride the motorbike. She sleeps with women. And she has the cool tattoo, whatever your opinion about tattoos may be.

What is there for men to feel comfortable about?

Now that I’ve got all that feminist reasoning out of the way, what remains to be said is that this really is a great film. The book has been criticised for it’s poor language, but that’s less obvious in a film. Swedes are silent, so there is less to say, and less to translate. The subtitling was fine for the most part. Slight difference between murdering and killing, I think, but never mind.

Nice scenery of woods and lakes and empty roads and dramatic bridges. Lots of suddenly very old Swedish actors, and most of those who are famous seem to be in the film. I think there will be less call for a Hollywood version than seemed likely last year. The Swedish version is as it should be, and there is no need for either Branagh or Costner to get involved. Swedes do it better.

Doing it the Swedish way has caused one slight problem, however. It’s an 18. I didn’t see that coming, but I suppose there is just too much nasty sex and violence for 17-year-olds. The rape scene is unpleasant. The worrying thing is that you get used to it. But you have to have it, since the whole trilogy hinges around what happens early on in the first part.

Dates for the Millennium films

At long last we have dates for the Millennium films in Britain. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is finally going to be here on March 12th, The Girl Who Played With Fire on September 10th and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest on November 5th. So that’s only a year behind Sweden.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Be prepared for violence, but do go and see them.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

The third Stieg Larsson film confirms what I said about the first two. If this is low budget, then that’s what we need. No glossy Hollywood stars driving too fast in fancy cars. Instead we have what the books want; namely normal looking Swedish people acting the parts of – almost – normal Swedish people and immigrants in Sweden today. If fast driving is required, then that has been done quite normally, and ‘on the cheap.’

Lisbeth Salander

Luftslottet som sprängdes has been changed from the book a little more than the previous books, but only to fit in with a plot that will work in just over two hours of film. I’d say there is very little that’s incomprehensible to someone who didn’t read the book first. The only thing I would have liked is more insight into the complex way the police worked out what was going on. There was very little room for the police work at all.

The doctor at the Sahlgrenska hospital was just right, if awfully young looking. (Can’t find the actor’s name, though.) They have also kept all the female roles, rather than integrating several into one, which just shows that the trilogy does have a strong voice for women.

As I mentioned re the second film, they have played around with the seasons. In film three we have winter most of the time, except when at home with Annika Giannini, who has perpetual summer outside her house. Slight oops, perhaps.

Director Daniel Alfredson has put his famous father Hans in a cameo as Evert Gullberg, which is confusing as he comes minus his moustache and his normal speaking accent.

And an appearance by the Prime Minister would have been fun, obviously.

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Having read reviews of the second Stieg Larsson Millennium film, The Girl Who Played With Fire, which were critical and claimed it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, I was worried. No need. I’d read complaints that there weren’t any cameo appearances by big names. There was one, actually, with Per Oscarsson as Holger Palmgren, and he was good as this respectable old man, which is different from his younger days.

Flickan som lekte med elden

There is simply no need for big names. And if we can agree that the books hardly count as great literature, but are great reads, then the films are in the same vein. Not exactly Bergman, but good, exciting films. And that’s enough. This second film may well qualify as a ‘low budget’ film, but what more do we need? It’s all there, inasmuch as you can put a long book like this into a two hour film.

Good Swedish scenery, and they may have turned the seasons upside down, but I’ll forgive them for that. Lisbeth’s flat is somewhere we’d all love to live, and it’s good to see it for real. A lot of the inner reasonings you get in the books are missing, but we can’t have everything.

Flickan som lekte med elden

Why they have Lisbeth using Windows on her Mac is beyond me. Old Windows at that, according to Son who watched with me. Less of the hacking than would have been fun, but I daresay there was no time for all that clever stuff.

Flickan som lekte med elden

The advantage with giving big name actors a miss, is that we get to see many unknowns (to me, at least) who are both good at what they do, and who fit the roles better than the big stars might. I gather that Paolo Roberto plays himself, which is weird, but fun. If this is what we get on a budget, I’m all for it. Give us more!

The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

When I saw comments on Facebook that people had been to see the second Stieg Larsson film, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and that it’s not as good as the first, I needed to check out the reviews in the press. I did, and for the most part they agreed, although it’s still a watchable film.

What I hadn’t realised until I read those reviews, was that the films weren’t written or directed by the same people. I knew they’d originally been intended to be shown on television, and the decision to detour via the big screen was taken as millions flocked to see the first film. I wonder why? It seems strange to treat the last two thirds of the trilogy differently, seeing as they were filmed in sequence and with the same actors. One complaint is that they have no nice cameos from the big names in acting, like they do in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Apparently the script is no better than dozens of other police films, riddled with clichéd lines. The consensus is that Noomi Rapace is very good as Lisbeth Salander still, and people in general appear to have enjoyed a long lesbian love scene. Well, it is Sweden.

On the same day as I did my research into the film reviews, I came across an article about Noomi’s next film. She has been offered a role playing opposite Dane Mads Mikkelsen, and Harvey Keitel and Elliot Gould. It’s called Clean Out and is to be directed by Barthélémy Grossmann. So things are looking good for Lisbeth.

Män som hatar kvinnor – the film review

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.

Noomi Rapace

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…

Män som hatar kvinnor

It’s enough to make me jump on a plane to Sweden. Now. But that would make it a fairly expensive cinema visit, so maybe not.

Lisbeth Salander-Noomi Rapace

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo premiered in Swedish cinemas at the weekend, and it’s been getting glowing reviews. All I’ve got are the trailers, which make the film look tantalisingly good. Reassuringly there seems to be no UK release date, which may mean we’re in for a little bit of a wait? Grrr.

Most of the Swedes who tend to appear in films are in it. The rich old tycoon Vanger is played by Sven-Bertil Taube, who is an institution, and I believe he still lives in London. Peter Haber, the actor who usually plays Beck, is in there, too. And I do have to lay claim to having once held hands with another of the actors, but only in a very innocent sort of way. Embarrassing memory.

From what I’ve read, they plan to make the remaining two books into television films, which may or may not be a good idea. Whether they make it to the British audience faster or slower that way is anybody’s guess.