8 November 2018 | Chalice_Of_Evil
Are you not Lisbeth Salander, the righter of wrongs? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?
The original book trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) were written by Stieg Larsson. There were movie versions of each released in 2009 starring Noomi Rapace. In 2010 there was the Millennium TV mini-series, which was a compilation of the three Swedish films with extended scenes/more stuff added back in. The three movies were re-released on DVD with the extra stuff added back in and these became the 'Extended Versions' of the films. In 2011 came the US remake of the first film. Since then, another author (David Lagercrantz) started writing a new series of books continuing the story on from the third book (as the original author, Stieg Larsson, had passed away). This new movie starring Claire Foy is the first film adaptation of the new series of books. The only 'remake' so far has been the 2011 version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Sadly, not enough people were first introduced to the character of Lisbeth Salander through Noomi Rapace's unparalleled performance, setting the standard by which all other portrayals should be compared. She did all the hard work/heavy lifting, bringing this character to life onscreen for the first time. Quite unfairly, she never scored an Oscar nomination (which I think she *should* have), nor did these original films receive all the praise that the US remake got. Whether it was the fact that the original film trilogy had subtitles, which people simply couldn't be bothered reading, I don't know, but it's a shame that the big flashy US remake got all the glory the original films/actress to play Salander should have. Those who told fans of the original Swedish films to 'Give the US remake a chance!' and dismissed the recasting of the Lisbeth role now know what it feels like. All the people whose first introduction to the characters of Lisbeth, Mikael, etc was the Fincher version clearly couldn't take their own advice, as a large percentage of them seem to be damning this new film, despite the fact that at least it's based on a book that *hasn't* been filmed previously.
I've seen complaints about Claire Foy as Lisbeth not looking vastly different to how she normally looks, and this is a result of Fincher going overboard with Lisbeth's look in his version, where she was downright alienesque in appearance. No, it *isn't* normal for Lisbeth to walk around with panda eyes/bizarre make-up. If you watched the second film in the original trilogy, you'd see she reserved the theatrical makeup for special occasions. That's what we get here in the opening scene, with Foy's Lisbeth sporting a swath of white paint over her eyes as she helps out a wife with an abusive husband. And the mohawk only appears here and briefly towards the end of the film. Fincher decided to go all 'comic book' with Lisbeth's look and created a 'heightened/hyper-reality', whereas this film is a bit more 'restrained'. No elaborate fights on escalators this time. When Lisbeth fights a guy hand-to-hand here, it's in a small enclosed area, brutal (not flashy), and she doesn't magically win.
We're now seeing the reaction from those who dismissed the part Noomi Rapace played in making the character of Lisbeth Salander as widely recognsied as she is (or who simply don't wish to accept that the role originated with her), because they fell in love with the remake version, when the shoe is on the other foot. The outcry over 'their' version of Lisbeth being replaced is no different to those who didn't wish to see Noomi replaced. Yet they're acting like the US version is the ONLY version. Sorry to break it to you...she's not. Claire Foy gives us a more 'grounded' performance as Lisbeth, as she conveys the character's weaknesses/vulnerabilities, making her feel like more of a 'real' character as opposed to the comic book-like US version. To those complaining about this film's 'action'...so what if there's action? It's not like the remake was devoid of elaborate action scenes. Plus, here she uses her brains for getting out of sticky situations more often than her fists.
Sverrir Gudnason might not be as recogniseable as Daniel Craig...but that actually works in his favour. Rather than watching a non-action version of James Bond onscreen, we're getting to see a Mikael as he comes across in the books. He's more or less just a regular guy, and I think the actor portrays him believably. We only get short scenes between him and Foy's Salander, but their 'relationship'/friendship feels like it's already established. The remake seemed to put them together in no time and I didn't feel that was 'earned' like in the original. Sylvia Hoeks does a lot with limited screentime also. We don't really meet her Camilla until late into the film (though we're introduced to the sisters as children at the beginning), but she plays the 'coldness' well, showing just hints of vulnerability.
I read the book this movie's based on/adapted from when it was first released and didn't think much of it. The author just wasn't able to capture what made the original three books (which I've read each of multiple times) so great. However, I decided to give the book another try in preparation for seeing this movie. Maybe it's that this movie's such a 'loose' interpretation of the book, with it being quite a bit different, but I found the film version much more interesting. The problem is some people who only know the US remake are ignorant of what came before. They think that version is the ONLY one that exists. This is no doubt what has contributed to the IMDB rating being so (quite unjustly) low. Claire Foy *is* the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo...whether you like it/wish to accept it or not. Hopefully we get to see more of her in the role. Until then, do yourself a favour and watch the original trilogy.