The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Helen and I have had a hell of a time watch­ing movies late­ly. Between work and rais­ing a very active 17-month-old baby, it’s hard to watch any­thing more than a few sit­coms before pass­ing out on the couch. We ral­lied last night to watch a full-length fea­ture for the first time in months and watched the inter­na­tion­al hit, The Girl With the Drag­on Tat­too. What bet­ter way to cel­e­brat­ing scal­ing back on our Net­flix sub­scrip­tion than by stream­ing a movie, right?

You’ll have to for­give me for not read­ing the books, but when my Dan­ish host mom rec­om­mend­ed them to Helen and me back when we vis­it­ed them in ’09, I had a hunch they’d be here soon. It’s a grue­some sto­ry poor­ly told; Helen, who has read the book, explained that they real­ly took lib­er­ties with it and I can’t right­ly say it was for the best, but where it does­n’t suc­ceed as an adap­ta­tion, it works as a thriller.

Lis­beth Salan­der reads like a more emo­tion­al­ly tor­ment­ed Jason Bourne, with even less insight into her trou­bled past. She’s a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter who’s absolute­ly cap­ti­vat­ing onscreen. The main prob­lem with the movie is that the sto­ry can’t seem to get out of its own way at times. The ham­fist­ed direc­tor ham­mers home in every pos­si­ble frame just how atro­cious and psy­chot­ic these crimes are, as if the audi­ence had­n’t ascer­tained that already. Hope­ful­ly that improves in future installments.

My biggest wor­ry about The Girl With the Drag­on Tat­too? That peo­ple will over­state the influ­ence of the Swedish Nazi Par­ty. The Swedes have their faults, but being Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers isn’t one of them.

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