Along with millions of others I was completely enthralled by the Stieg Larsson Millennium Trilogy and its heroine Lisbeth Salander. I confess to being an ardent fan of Scandinavian crime fiction and have devoured the entire Swedish Wallander series by Henning Manning and the Norwegian Jo Nesbo's rather dubious Harry Hole detective thrillers.
Early in January my sister-in-law and I went to the cinema to see the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which had been recently released. I had not seen the 2009 Swedish version of the film, but I had been told that it was excellent -- with lots of praise going to the actress who played Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace. The last review I'd read on the American film was that it was very well done -- especially if you had not seen the Swedish version.
The American movie is very good and I am glad to have seen it. Broadly speaking, the story in the Millennium Trilogy is one about violence to women and it is at times quite brutal. Lisbeth Salander is a victim of this kind of brutality and her character and her response are what makes the stories so compelling. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo two years ago, and as with almost everything I read, after time my memory of the details of the story was vague. But there were aspects of the story that I really didn't remember at all. I wanted to see the Swedish version of the films so that I could compare the first two and was able to get all 3 for a very good price on Amazon. Last night I watched that version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I had not realized that these films were made to be shown on Swedish Television and as a consequence each book in made into two films, each 89 minutes long. The American cinema version is 158 minutes.
In my opinion, both films are good and Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara are each incredible in their performances. Rapace has a colder take on the role -- but it is possible that this is more authentically Swedish -- and the differences are really only 'shades of difference'. At least to me. The Swedish version was definitely closer to the story in the book. Daniel Craig is a more attractive actor but I couldn't say he was better in the part.
I would never have believed how much I would enjoy seeing a woman exact her revenge on a man. It is quite a shock to realize that I was actually cheering her on -- in the book and the films. I amused me to look around the movie theatre and see the enjoyment that was evident on the faces of women of all ages -- some quite elderly as Lisbeth 'took care of business'! I'm glad though that I'd read the book and knew what was coming. The other thing is that I watched both films that made up the first book and then I went to bed -- it didn't make for a good night's sleep as I kept going over different parts of the story.
I can't help but think it interesting to consider how we might look at a Swedish version of Gone with the Wind or to stay with a similar genre, Goldfinger ... It must be very odd to watch the American film if you are Swedish. One thing though, unlike most of us, they will understand the English and not have to read subtitles!