The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This paper is the response to the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009). This is Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel, in which journalist and private investigator unite the forces to pry into lives of a rich family. The movie released by Music Box Films, and the leading actors are Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist.

This movie is, in fact, two stories in one. The first film is rape-revenge account about a gothy computer hacker Lisbeth who is sadistically and brutally assaulted by her parole officer. The other part of the film is story of dishonored journalist Mikael working to resolve forty-year old missing person’s case at the behest of a rich Swedish industrialist. For one hour of the movie, the rape-payback account takes priority and then finishes, after which Lisbeth joins Mikael on his case. They work together to discover the missing female and her killer, and expose dark secrets, which point to a potential serial killer (Oplev, 2009).

There are many rape and sex scenes in the film and director Niels Arden Oplev should get credit for neither making use of nor overly beautifying these fragments. The influence of the scenes of violence makes the film really remarkable. In fact, this rape revenge narrative connects to the rest of the film. The "romantic" tie between Lisbeth and faceless male hero had a powerfully disturbing edge to it in the context of her abuse history. And the gratuitousness of the brutality of the forty-year old crime faded in connection to the previous, more direct violence as well, which is extremely frightening in retrospect.

Niels Arden Oplev understands that the character of Salander is the narrative’s strongest asset, and positions her as a contemporary 007 agent. Noomi Rapace is, in fact, astonishing as Lisbeth Salander. Her performance depicts Lisbeth's anger at the way she has been assaulted and raped by men, and demonstrates how this has allowed her to assist Blomkvist discovering the truth behind the hate-crimes. Yet, there is something emotional in the manner her attitude melts into love for Blomkvist, vaguely triggered by his words about his daughter.

Rapace’s cynical performance inevitably draws you in. Her eyes are the core of the movie, her reactions are the cause viewers laugh and cry. The character requires the actress who is capable to internalize her emotions and at the same time express a wide line of feelings. Rapace does this perfectly; each glance is charged with strong feeling as if you are looking right into her soul. It is Rapace who is the driving force behind the entire movie: without her, viewers might be forced to concentrate on unreal-looking elements, particularly the sketchily imagined globe of business and media (Oplev, 2009).

Generally speaking, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a stylishly made, well-acted detective novel. It is never boring, and director does a great job of switching between his two stories so that it feels more like one plot line instead of disconnected accounts expecting to come together.

The most moving scenes of this movie come from characters themselves, this is the character driven narrative and none are more powerful than Mikeal and Lisbeth themselves. The directors make their connection the major focus and it proves its value. This is the rare type of book adaptation that nobody should miss. This is extraordinary movie that makes you want to take a shower, breaks your heart and at the same time makes you laugh together with its characters.

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