Monday, April 19, 2010

Screening of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

I was selected to attend a Swedish Crime Fiction writing workshop with celebrated author Hakan Nesser on the 19th of April. Unfortunately, because of the Volcanic Ash eruption, he was unable to arrive in India and had to cancel all his lectures/workshops in Delhi and Bombay.

The Swedish Embassy quickly put together a revised schedule for the 2 days, but hearing a Delhi Univ Prof talk what she thinks an author is trying to say, is not the same as the author telling you about his thought process. While I'm sure the substitute speakers were very good, given my time constraints, I decided to utilise my time on more pressing concerns. The only exception was the screening of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo This was the Swedish version (obviously, the Hollywood version isn't due out until 2012 and they still haven't finalised a credible heroine for the role of Lisbeth) by director Niels Arden Oplev

I am a huge fan of the books and couldn't wait for part 3 (Girl who kicked the Hornets Nest) to come out. It was a huge relief that Larsson had a chance to detail Lisbeth's past in this book. It went a long way in explaining how her character came to be so complicated.

All 3 of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy (they were meant to be 10 in the series, he unfortunately died after writing the 3rd book and they were all published posthomously) were made into movies last year in Sweden.

The audience at the Habitat Center were privileged to watch the first in the series, on a big screen (well medium sized, but still better than the largest tv)

Anyone who has read the book, will know that the story is dark and violent, so it came as no suprise that the overall setting of the movie was dark right down to the lighting. The only scenes that were lighter, were flashbacks from Blomkvist's childhood memories of Harriet Vanger.

This was a rare occassion when I genuinely felt that the movie measured up to the book. There have been a few minor changes to the story line with a few details from parts 2 and 3 being slipped into Part 1, but they are so minor, that no one can really object to them as they only help build the story, rather than detract from it.

It will be interesting to compare this version with the Hollywood version, when it comes out. The violence in this movie is measured, its more about what isn't shown, than what is shown. Lisbeth washing her mouth out with soap, the trembling of her hands as she lights her cigarette. The lighting, the pace, everything combined together wonderfully and brought the book to life.

The casting is excellent. Noomi Rapace has done such a wonderful job of slipping into the character of Lisbeth Salander, that there are supposedly talks of her acting in the US version too. It will be difficult for any other actress to slip into her shoes for this role. It's like she was born to play this part.

Lisbeth's first meeting with Nils Bjurman is nothing short of chilling. Inspite of knowing what would happen next, the whole scene sent shivers up my spine. Lisbeth could have been the inspiration for Elin Woods in the golf club scene.

The movie doesn't show anything dramatically obscene, but there is no mistaking what is going on. Menace is writ in each of those frames. I noticed, that female nudity was shown only when it was by her choice and never when it was against her will. Small details that added to her character.

The casting as I said before is excellent. The acting and direction brilliant. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who loved the books and anyone who loves movies, even if you haven't read the books (yet)


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