Books and Movies and Stieg Larsson

Noomi Rapace is steamy in the Swedish productionMy review of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson all started because I planned to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander, during the holiday break. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the story and decided to read the book before going. I am glad I did.

Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth with a visceral sensualityI liked the movie, even though it was long (it had to be to get the whole story in, which I understood having read the book), and I refer you to Roger Ebert’s review. It was disturbing, as was the book, and far more graphic in its scenes of sexual abuse than might have been necessary. Still, the scenes were needed in order to convey the character of Lisbeth Salander, a woman who is not one to be abused without some consequences.

Since seeing the movie, I became aware that a Swedish version of the story was filmed a couple of years ago. In fact, the entire trilogy was filmed, starring Michael Nyqvist as Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. This trilogy is available on Comcast On Demand in six parts, and is quite good. The American version of Dragon Tattoo is good in its own way, and it is interesting to note the differences between it and the Swedish version. Both capture the power of Larsson’s narrative, and both struggle with his tendency to over-narrate. The rape scene in the Swedish version are not as graphic, although as the story continues the filmmaker delights in presenting the lesbian love scenes in a manner that is just outright prurient.

Especially interesting are the differences between the performance of Rapace—who is not made up quite as horrifically—and Rooney Mara in the role of Lisbeth Salander (photos above). Both performances are strong, and both convey in slightly different ways the mystique and menace of this young woman whose life is made almost unlivable because of government gone awry.

Rapace may not be familiar to most of you, but if you go see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, she plays Madame Simza Herron. She is a beautiful girl, as is Mara. Both are very gifted performers.

So, if you are in the mood for a good mystery, and can stomach the violence, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is worth seeing. But read the book first if you want to know what’s going on!

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