With a little person running around, I get to go to the movies far less often, and so can take fewer risks. I still do want to see Burton’s Alice, despite the decidedly mixed reviews, but instead decided to see the well-reviewed Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor). A number of people had recommended the book to me, and I’d nearly picked it up a half-dozen times, but never got to it. I’m glad; I don’t usually enjoy film adaptations if I’ve read the book. But having seen it in a theater of people who had almost universally read the novel, and suggested some ways afterward in which the film differed, I’m looking forward to going back and reading the trilogy.
There’s nothing shocking here in terms of the ingredients: a bit of a murder mystery, a cold case, appropriately claustrophobic settings, natural beauty, revenge, a bit of a tech piece that does not clobber you over the head (well, unless you are under the mistaken impression that anything but Macs are used in Sweden), some great acting, a few twists that are not obvious, and a few Nazis for flavor–these are things you expect in a suspense/thriller. But they are mixed together and baked very nearly to perfection in the film. There is very little to find fault with, and each scene is laid out beautifully. If you get the chance, and like the genre, do go and see it.
Of course, most Americans won’t, because it means reading subtitles. As a result, the American version is already in the works. Given the film’s success in Swedish, there is a lot of hype about the US version. One combination sees it with Depp as Blomkvist and Tarantino directing. (What, no Coen Bros?). Of course, this would be a very different film. One can only hope it wouldn’t be different in the same way that, say, Point of No Return was different from Nikita. In any case, see it in this version. It’s a good movie.
And, I’ll go one step farther. I think a large foundation should underwrite getting foreign films out of the art house and into wide distribution. I think film is a great way for people to experience a slice of culture foreign to their own. Yes, I recognize that Sweden is not rife with serial murders and neo-punk hackers (or is it–I’ve never been!), but at least people get a feeling for a different aesthetic, different ways of interacting, and subtly different values.