Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The North Bay Film Series hosted their final film of the winter season last night. (If this seems odd, I should point out to you that while I was off gallivanting in Toronto on the weekend, this fair city rceived some four inches of snow, so perhaps that winter bit is not such a misnomer.) Anyhow, the film was "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," and I quite enjoyed it. It's very rare to get to see a film that I know so little about, and I really like the sensation of being able to just watch, rather than having that mental checklist of things that I'm expecting to see.

The film was very good, though a bit strange: a potboiler mystery shot by someone with the visual sensibility of a photographer. It was exquisite to watch, even at its most painful, and largely compellingly acted. Most reviewers have commented extensively on Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth Salander, but I found myself drawn to Michael Nyqvist's Mikael more. I don't know that it was a part that I asked him to do a lot, per se, but I enjoyed his stoic subtlety.

There are a few uneven parts: scenes that don't fit, like the one where the family tells Mikael to get out, or Cecilia hitting on him; it takes too long for Lisbeth and Mikael to meet1. The biggest issue is the film's desire for closure, as there are nearly four separate points at which the film could have ended that would have given me sufficient closure, but it just. kept. going. to explain "one more thing" to us. I'm curious to read Stieg Larsson's novel now, as I'd like to know how much of this comes from the adaptation.

That said, the experience as a whole was good enough that I hardly noticed I was reading subtitles, which is impressive.2

1 The scenes with Lisbeth leading up to their meeting are compelling, but also excessive; I think the same things could be conveyed about her character without devoting quite so much time to it.
2 Although I wonder if this is because it was in Swedish, which is a language that I don't speak at all. I have a hard time with French films subtitled in English because I speak enough French that I can either listen to the movie or read the subtitles, and I find it distracting to do both.

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