A Review of both versions of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Written by na253

Let me begin by saying that I have never managed to read the book (in fairness I only tried once).

Let me begin by saying that I have never managed to read the book (in fairness I only tried once). I know it’s a best seller and as an English graduate I do feel some embarrassment over this slip, however I feel it therefore gives me a chance to judge both movies without knowing a thing about them, so I can’t have unreasonable expectations, in fact I didn’t have any expectations accept the desire to be entertained. 

I saw the David Fincher version first, that’s the one that’s currently playing in cinemas up and down the country and has Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in it. 

Right off the bat I’ll admit, I enjoyed it. That’s not to say that there weren’t flaws, but as a good grown-up thriller it worked. The performances were strong I especially liked Mr Craig. He was physically strong but presented himself as someone uncomfortable with this masculine side who was far more of an intellectual and idealist. 

Personally in comparison Michael Nygvist didn’t quite have the same vulnerability, which made Mr Craig such a good hopeful hack. But maybe I’m just a sucker for James Bond’s blue eyes.

Now for the more complicated character of Lisabeth; a strong, intelligent, delightfully prickly female heroine, played well by both Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace. And God it’s good to see the real hero being a woman. 

The violence that is inflicted on Lisabeth – in both versions – is to my eyes unnecessary. 

Here we finally have a strong woman, not without problems, but yes, lets strip her, humiliate her, and torture her – why? If Lisabeth is just different, then let her be so, the violence does not explain any part of her character nor does it add to the story. 

It felt like the explanation for why Lisabeth is different is not explained, but rather an opportunity to stare at Ms Rapace and Ms Mara’s arse is given. And since the Fincher version dwells for more on Ms Mara’s arse, whilst the Swedish film strikes a blow at the end for empowering female revenge. The feminist in me warmed considerably to the Swedish film and to Ms Rapace.

As a thriller both films work. Fincher’s version gets points for glitz (especially the swish opening credits), whilst the Swedish gets them for the guts and gore displayed. So it’s your choice if you haven’t seen either film to pick between substance or style. Or another way of looking at it would be: the Fincher version is a film, it needs to be broader and feature more sex, whereas the earlier movie is far more of a TV production – the twists and turns create a rounder, fuller picture. 

In the end, as glamorous as Fincher’s remake is, and I’m pleased I saw it first because it explained the basics of an overly complicated plot, it felt upon reflection that yet another version of this story was not strictly necessary.