Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Random: I tweeted that the EFC review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was up, and almost instantly someone called @thousandtattoo is following me on Twitter, likely expecting more tattoo-related news. I'm sorry to disappoint you, sir, but I think they're kind of gross.

(Speaking of EFC, I'm going to start doing the "Full reviews at EFC" thing again, unless anyone hates it. I've got a few multi-review posts coming up, and they get pretty unwieldy; besides, EFC's been good to me and giving them a bit of a higher profile will also be good for me. Who knows, maybe money will even be involved someday.)

Anyway, on to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its two sequels. The first book is out in paperback in America (as I write it, it's $5.50 on Amazon, for trade-sized and Kindle editions), the second just came out in paperback yesterday, with the third on its way in May. All three movies made from the novels have hit the big screen in Sweden. At this time, it's not clear what the plans are for American releases of the films. Music Box Films's website doesn't make it particularly clear whether they have the American rights to the other two films, so what sort of release schedule there might be isn't clear. As much as I hate being patient, I wonder if they might be thinking of targeting relatively quiet months when they can get both art-house screens and the occasional mainstream one - maybe The Girl Who Played with Fire in August/September, and The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest next March.

Now I'm wondering how much of it I want to devour. There's no question I'll be seeing the other two movies whenever they reach American screens (if not before - it just hit me that Played with Fire and Hornet's Nest could be a double feature at this year's Fantasia festival, like the Death Note and 20th Century Boys films in previous years). But, like I said before, the English translation of the first book is $5.50 right now, and I think I'll be all over that as soon as I post this. After that, the question is whether or not I want to read the other two books before the respective movies hit the U.S.

The logic behind wanting to see the movies first is kind of silly - these things are books first and foremost, and why should I want to see the compromised version first? There is, on the other hand, a certain pleasure to the second time through being a more thorough, in-depth look at the story. Of course, the flip side is that these stories are mysteries, and you only get to experience them for the first time once.

On the gripping hand - I'm getting the first in paperback, so I'll wait until the others are in paperback with the same trim size (and hopefully trade dress), because I don't want my shelves more jagged than necessary. So that will probably determine when I even consider picking up the books before seeing the movies.

EDIT: By happy coincidence, Music Box Films has just announced that The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest will hit theaters "this summer".

Män som hatar kvinnor (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 21 March 2010 at AMC Boston Common #9 (first-run)

Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" novels - all three published posthumously, and given names that begin "The Girl Who..." in the United States - are kind of a big deal. How can you tell? Well, the three movies with high production values being made and released in rapid succession in Sweden are one way. The fact that the first, at least, got a fairly rapid turnaround for it's US release is another. And that's not all; I didn't see this long, subtitled film released by a small distributor in one of Cambridge's arthouses, but in one of Boston's mainstream multiplexes, with a pretty decent crowd for a Sunday matinee. Hopefully that augurs well for the other two getting big American releases, as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has me wanting more.

We start not with the title character, but with Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), an Stockholm investigative reporter who has just been convicted of libel. He will pay a hefty fine and serve a three month sentence, although it doesn't start for six months. In the meantime, he steps down as publisher of the magazine Millennium, but he's offered another opportunity: Octogenarian billionaire Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) would like him to find out who killed his niece Harriet in 1966; the evidence suggests that it must have been some member of his family (a greedy and disreputable bunch even if you ignored his brothers' Nazi ties) and still active in the present. Fortunately, though Mikael doesn't realize it at the time, he's not working alone: Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a "researcher" for the security company that vetted Mikael for Henrik, hacked into his computer as part of the job and is still following his progress.

Nyqvist is the first person billed in the credits, but I wouldn't be terribly surprised if more than a few Mikael-centric scenes were cut so that, after the murder mystery, much of the rest of the film could focus on Lisbeth. She's an unconventional sleuth to say the least - in the middle of a buttoned-down security firm, she's a standoffish prodigy in gothy dress all the way to her multiple piercings and spiked collar, who has a scummy new parole officer who alludes to a history of mental problems (a marvelously repulsive Peter Andersson - seeing him, it's no wonder she seems to prefer girls or has trouble with anger management). She makes Mikael seem rather tame - just a methodical, middle-aged reporter, albeit one with ties to the victim and a false libel conviction.

Full review at eFilmCritic

1 comment:

HdMovie said...

Its a good movie.The story is great.Wanna watch any kind of movies in HD?