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Banned In China

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Wednesday we went to a showing of the American version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Go with caution from this point forward since I do go into detail concerning the differences between the two movies and the book.

The American version was very good, although some different from the Swedish version.  Mara Rooney, the girl who played Lisbeth was more waif like then Rapace, but in the end I think just as good.  There are some things the American version has in it that the Swedish version doesn't and visa versa.

The rape scene was less violent in the American version and the retribution scene was different.  There is no dildo used by the rapist in the American version, at least that we are aware of and when Lisbeth returns to exact retribution and justice she brings her own dildo and uses it rather than getting the one he used on her out and using it on him.  Which I think makes her retribution look a little less like old testament justice, which if you think about it is meant to contrast, I think, with the very sick minds of the serial killers and their Bible verses justifying their killings.  Lisbeth's actions are obviously justified, particularly when one knows her entire history and relationship with the authorities. 

Towards the end after cutting down Mikael she asks him if she can kill Martin in the American version.  Then as she chases Martin his car blows up before she can do anything, which is different than both the other movie and the book. (Wrong about the book, although she did, I think, cause his death in that he purposely ran headlong into a truck while trying to escape her.)  Lisbeth actively participates in the killing of Martin in both the others, but not in this one.  This changes things, not so much that it ruins the movie, but it does change things.  In both of the others Mikael is the one who has the more conventional morality even with all his sleeping around. He does not approve of her assisting in Martin's death or even just letting Martin burn to death.  Having her ask permission of him and having him give it changes this dynamic and gives him more authority then either the book or other movie gave him.  I wonder if this wasn't an attempt by Hollywood, to make the movie a little more conventional.  You know somehow the girl needs the big strong guy for something even if it is only the moral authority to go out and kill.

In the Swedish version Lisbeth chases Martin on her motor cycle without a weapon and wearing the helmet that that doesn't allow you to see her, it makes her a kind of other worldly avenging angel, even though she exists in an otherwise real world (no matter how horrible). And you know that when she catches him she will exact retribution weapon or no.   In the American version she chases Martin, but doesn't put on her helmet and has the gun all of which makes things more realistic, but once again makes her less of a force of nature.

One of the most important symbols in this version is the bridge which is the only way on or off the Island of the Vangers.  It seems to play an important role in this movie.  I think that one of the themes that was mostly lost in both movies was the contempt Larsson has towards the capitalist class.  Oh well, you can't have everything.

Still after saying all this I did enjoy the American version.  The actors are excellent and in some ways it was closer to the book:  the ending, Mikael's daughter and her religious belief and how she not Lisbeth turned him on to the Bible verses.  Also, Lisbeth's employer and her first guardian are in this movie a little more, which should make them more interesting in the second and third movies.

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