Friday, August 27, 2010

LISBETH SALANDER ON SCREEN TWICE





Last night I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, on DVD, and this afternoon I went to our local Picture House Cinema to watch The Girl who Played with Fire.
I missed seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when it was at the cinema, because of my broken leg [patella] and subsequent immobility.
It will take something similar to stop me going to the The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest when that is released in cinemas early next year.

TGWTDT was the first movie I had watched on my 21 inch I-Mac, and it was like having my own private cinema. Very pleasant.
This was superb film, with beautiful cinematography and performance from Noomi Rapace that swept away any doubts I might of had that she would not match the Lisbeth of my imagination. Michael Nyqvist still does not seem to have the personality to be the "Kalle" Blomqvist of the books.
But the TGWTDT is all about Lisbeth Salander, and the story of the sick men of Vanger family, whose abuse of women goes back decades.

The Girl who Played with Fire was even better, and the 129 minutes flew by in a very quiet, but fairly well attended cinema.
Noomi Rapace's performance was gripping, and she is so good in the part I cannot imagine why Hollywood wants to remake the film with another actress in her part. Once again it was scenically beautiful, and the violent action scenes were brilliantly directed with the result that this is a very tense and exciting movie.
Some judicious editing of the book, including those first irrelevant one hundred pages for instance, created a much tauter screenplay, which made a remarkable good effort at dealing with a complex story.
I can see in the future cinemas showing all three movies over the course of a marathon "Lisbeth Salander" day, because if you haven't read the books you are left in a state of limbo at the dramatic finale of the The Girl who Played with Fire.

The recent article proclaiming that Stieg Larsson was a bad bad writer, raises the question what do you want in crime fiction books?
If it is clever elitist but ultimately bland wordsmithery, and characters who you ultimately don't care about, there are other authors for you.
If you want good storytelling, despite much superfluous material, and a very relevant message then it is worth putting up with the odd IKEA shopping list, and the "flat cliche ridden" prose.
Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code a better book than Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? I think not. Irrespective of whether the plot of The Da Vinci Code has a modicum of truth, or whether there were Nazis in Sweden in the 1930s and 1940s.

When you see her on the screen, acted so brilliantly by Noomi Rapace, it comes across what a vulnerable and damaged character Stieg Larsson created in Lisbeth Salander.

15 Comments:

Blogger iasa said...

I just saw '...Dragon Tattoo' this past week. I really enjoyed it and thought it was a good adaptation of the book. I don't recall reading The Girl Who Played With Fire but I'm will have plenty of time before it reaches Texas. I can't wait to see it.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Maxine said...

I've seen TGWTDT twice, and loved it. I haven't yet seen TGWPWF but I'm very much looking forward to it (to put it mildly!).

12:58 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Iasa I hope you won't have to wait too long for TGWPWF.

Maxine, I am sure you will enjoy TGWPWF, it must be on down your way, and then like me you will be waiting for THGWKTHN.

2:12 PM  
OpenID murderbytype said...

My husband and I have read the three books. My daughter hasn't read any. The three of us have seen the films together.

She doesn't think it is necessary to read the books in order to enjoy the films. My husband likes the films better than the books. I like the books better than the films.

We will, together, see the third film when it finally arrives in the theaters. None of us are likely to change our minds about our preferences.

Given that Noomi Rapace is Swedish, she very likely speaks English well. The smart thing would have been to cast her in the American version. That would guarantee that everyone who saw the original films would pay to see her again. Instead, I will watch her on my computer.

Beth

5:06 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

TGWTDT is an excellent movie. Noomi Rapace is just superb. I also cannot imagine how any U.S. actor can match Rapace's skill at portraying Lizbeth Salander. It really will be a tough act to follow.

I feel sorry for the U.S. actor to play Salander. She has so much to live up to and will be compared to Rapace constantly.

The violence on screen is harder to deal with than that in the book. It is there and unescapable. I had to fast forward a few times, I admit it.

Stieg Larsson isn't being touted as a great writer, insofar as being great at the technique of writing or espousing the beauty of language.

No. He was an excellent storyteller, as you say. He was a great plotter; once one read a few pages, one was hooked; many readers stayed up into the week hours to read his books, unable to put them down, finding excuses to read one more chapter, one more page, one more paragraph--as did I.

He told a big story, a fascinating epic, with lots of interesting characters and different plot lines. One just wanted to know what Larsson would say next, what would happen next, how the stories would unfold.

That's what a mystery writer should do.

If any are writing near poetry, like Adrian Hyland in "Gunshot Road," that's a plus. But for a terrific story, one that's unputtable-down, read Larsson.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Beth and Kathy, I totally agree it is a virtually impossible task to match Noomi Rapace in the role. It is very embarrassing for us mono linguists when the average Scandinavian speaks fluent English.

Kathy you are so right about the epic nature of the story, and I think seeing it on screen makes you appreciate how good the books were.

I know the media blitz and ballyhoo were over the top, but Noomi Rapace's performance and the books actually almost lived up to that in the end.

I just can't wait to see the Hornets' Nest film and the thought of a possible fourth book on that laptop.........

1:52 AM  
Blogger Dorte H said...

My family and I have watched the first two films together and enjoyed them thoroughly.

Is it better or worse than Da Vinci? Difficult to say, but while I enjoyed Stieg LarssonĀ“s books AND his concern about abuse of women, I found Da Vinci reasonably entertaining, but I was shocked to realize how many people thought there was some kind of truth in his silly conspiracy.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Dorte there was a rather nasty review of TGWPWF in the Telegraph yesterday, and they published a shortened version of it today. I shall be posting about that tomorrow or when I have collected my thoughts.
Pleased that you and the family enjoyed the film,after reading that review I was wondering if I had gone mad. Then I remembered that most of British and American "intellectual elite" blame any or all of four groups of people for all the ills in this world.
Stieg Larsson does not refer to any of them in his books, and so the backlash against his work has started. ;o)

12:32 PM  
Anonymous kathy d. said...

Can't wait to see what you say about the Telegraph's review. What was the basis of their criticism?

It's a movie, not a documentary film about WWII. #&*$#@*(that's me politely swearing!)

The Da Vinci Code? I read the book. It was well-plotted and there was some interesting history, but then it became a fantasy concoction, thriller and a religious treatise on an alternative theory of a religion, which bored me no end.

The movie did the same only it was a bit hard to follow. I don't know if people who hadn't read the book would have known what happened. But it ended as what my Irish relatives would say: malarkey.

But it had a good cast and was fast-paced so it was somewhat riveting but based on nonsense--but, hey, it's fiction.
It's allowed to be whatever the author intended.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Reg said...

Reg and Felicity loved both movies! Even though we saw them out of order.

Try Googling Rooney Mara to see the American Salander. Good luck. She will be shooting in Sweden soon. Really ought to work out and get some muscles though.

Noomi rocks!

11:33 PM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Kathy what I would like to say, and what I will risk in view of once being threatened with legal action are two different things. ;o)
Any review that is headlined in the compressed Saturday version "Larsson sequel is pure tat", is hardly likely to contain constructive criticsm.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Reg, do you remember looking round WH Smith in Bath for one of your books? A easier job now as you can't avoid them. ;0)
I hope you are both well and enjoying the fruits of success.
I am very pleased that if there has to be a Hollywood remake at least they are filming it in Sweden.
I had horrible visions of it being moved to Boston [like Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera], and Maine, with rogue CIA agents, and Dick Cheney playing Zalachenko.

3:25 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Update: Daily Telegraph review one star; Sunday Times review four stars.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Kerrie said...

I've enjoyed both films Norman. I was amazed that such big books could be condensed into 2 hour films. I believe now the US film(s) are being made, with David Fincher, not Michael Nyqvist in the starring role. One has to ask why. So people don't have to read sub-titles?

3:41 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Kerrie at least I think they are being filmed in Sweden i expected them to be moved to Maine or Oregon.
A remake is an absolute waste of time, in fact my DVD has and English soundtrack alternative but I watched it with subtitles. The BBC Wallander series had put me off English speaking actors trying to be Swedes.

4:57 AM  

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