The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – 2011 (Spoilers)

Holy shit – those opening credits. Beautiful. Mesmerizing. And set to a cover of Immigrant Song by Karen O. and Trent Reznor? Amazing. I am not kidding when I say those credits were practically worth the admission cost by themselves.

(Kinda wish I’d known they were on YouTube before now…)

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It’s been close to two years since I saw the Swedish film, starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace as Blomkvist and Salander.

So: impressions.

Pretty damn good. And long. The change to the plot at the end of the film was kind of confusing — in the book, as I recall (and I might not) Harriet has fled to Australia where she’s lived under her cousin’s identity. Her cousin, meanwhile, lives in England. In the movie, Harriet’s cousin has been killed in a car wreck, and Harriet has assumed her identity and works as an investment banker.

I dunno – that seemed weird. Like fleeing your Nazi incestuous relatives from your home in Georgia by moving to South Carolina. See what I did there? Ned Beatty and Deliverance. If you’ve seen either of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo adaptations, or read the book, you know what I’m talking about. “Squeal piggy, squeal!”

The ending went on forever. For. Fucking. Ever.

I watched an interview with John le CarrĂ© once where he said that he judged an adaptation not for how faithfully it kept to the book, but how faithfully it kept to the medium. In other words: don’t follow the literal words in the book, follow the spirit. I agree (this is why Order of the Phoenix is my favorite Harry Potter adaptation – they butchered the plot, but kept the building terror of the book). Fincher followed the literal letter, but, in my mind, lost the spirit of the book.

Oh, who am I kidding. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a twist on Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians (eh, sorta – isolated island, someone’s killed, etc.), with a recurring theme of men betraying women, most visualized through all the crap that happens to Salander. She’s raped (repeatedly – orally, anally), robbed, and then betrayed romantically by Blomkvist. In the book, there’s also a lot of plot-stopping rants (like Larssen’s explanation of the Swedish custody system) and some really awful dialogue (“Lisbeth Salander, you’re a fucking hacker”, as I recall) that fortunately skipped the movie.

Well – I don’t know. I guess he kept the spirit. I think he could’ve just rushed the ending a little more. I had to pee, man.

Basically: there goes two and a half hours of my life. It was really too bad Christopher Plummer wasn’t in it more, but, hey, look, there’s that old dick from Lost who valued his Scotch more than his daughter’s happiness.

No, really, that was one of my favorite parts. When he’s all “Hey, when was the last time you ate?” and she’s all “Oh, I have a high metabolism, stop talking about my weight” and he’s like “Oh, well, when I show you these photos you asked for, you’ll probably vomit” and then she’d say “Oh, I hope we’ve both learned a lesson about assuming stuff.”