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Celebrating the Life

[Longhorn Review] The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: Adventure, mystery, Niels Arden Oplev, Stieg Larson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — Posted on May 2, 2011, 3:36 pm

By: Niels Arden Oplev

The film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was definitely a film that kept me on
the edge of my seat wondering what was coming next, that is after it got into the
plot anyway. At the same time it had me covering my eyes in disgust at many of the
scenes. There are several extreme rape and violence scenes, of which I have never
been exposed to before. Perhaps I am naive in the movie realm, but there were some
disturbing scenes and actions in this movie. I believe the director, Niels Arden
Oplev, took advantage of these scenes, also included in the book, to make the movie
more interesting and exciting.

A subject that I usually try to keep from my mind,
violence against women, was strongly brought out in this movie. Stemming from the
book, it seems as though the original author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
wished to show that violence against women is common in Sweden. This is specifically
shown through the life of Lisbeth Salander, who we see is abused sexually and
physically several times throughout the movie. As I mentioned before, these were
hard scenes to endure. One of which shows her being brutally raped by her mentor,
Nils Bjurman, and does not leave much to the imagination. Also, the film includes
tales of what one character, I won’t reveal who, does to women, which I believe are
unspeakable things and I almost wish I had not been exposed to them.

The excitement
and mystery of the plot makes up somewhat for all the disturbing scenes as Mikael
Blomkvist and later Lisbeth Salander try to solve the 40 year old mystery of Harriet
Vanger’s disappearance. Blomkvist begins this job after being hired by Henrick
Vanger, a family member in the great clan of the Vanger Company. It is suspected
that someone in the family has killed Harriett. Blomkvist and Salander go through
many scenarios of what could have happened to her, which all seem favorable, until
they lead to a dead end. The real conclusion, one you would never expect, is the
most fascinating. I believe it is also the most disturbing of them all. Unless you
have read the book, you will not know what really happened until right before the
very clever Blomkvist and Salander figure it out.

In comparison to the book, there
are several big plot points left out and the plot develops much faster in the movie,
making for a more enjoyable watch. It is about halfway through the book when
Blomkvist makes his first discovery, contrasting to only thirty minutes into the
movie. Also, it is easier to read about these disturbing scenes than to have to see
them with your own eyes. At least with the book, you can edit them in your mind and
see more of what you chose to see. Perhaps this wasn’t what the author, Stieg
Larsson, or the director of the movie, Oplev, intended for the mind to do.

Oplev, Niels Arden, dir. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 2009. Music Box Films, 2009.
DVD.

Reviewer: Mary Ann McKenzie

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