I saw “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” over the holidays. I had already seen the original Swedish movie. In fact, I’ve seen all three of the Swedish films and they are all terrific.
The English version of the first one is equally good. I liked Daniel Craig as Mikael Bloomkvist, the intrepid journalist and owner of Millenium magazine, a magazine that gets at the truth of things and exposes all of those nasty realities that most people don’t want to read about, like corrupt politicians and corporations and how they destroy people.
I thought Rooney Mara, who plays Lisbeth Salandar, the genius geek and computer hacker who is not to be messed with, was excellent. I didn’t think there was any way she could be as good as the original Lisbeth played by actress Noomie Rapace who is in the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. But Mara held her own.
The story is complicated and filled with endless fascinating details but basically Bloomkvist and Lisbeth eventually team up to try and find out what happened to a girl who went missing forty years ago.
The movies in this trilogy are based on Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson’s books. Larsson was a brilliant story teller with complex plots and themes. Unfortunately he died of a heart attack before he ever saw the popularity of the three books he wrote about Bloomkvist and Lisbeth.
The English version of the original movie captures all of the same dark horrors of human evil, rage, courage, and endurance. Even though it is fiction you cannot watch this movie and not be reminded that people are capable of doing the most hideous things to each other. There are scenes that will remind you of Nietzsche’s famous dictum: “Man is the cruelest animal.”
But there runs through the whole movie the hope of humanity, that people can recover from terrible abuses, transcend their psychic pain, and do good things and be good people.
Lisbeth Salandar possesses a grisly past and permanent inner wounds. She is terribly flawed as anyone who has been through her torment would be. She is vengeful and rightfully so. But underneath her Gothic, cold, impenetrable outer shell resides not an empty self but someone so in need of love and human warmth.
In time she discovers the secret to accepting herself and life.
Whatever it is that you find to make you loving—religion, Zen, Karma, science, your child or children, your spouse, or lover, your parents, your best friend, romance novels, or your own self creed—whatever or whomever it is that inspires you to love, that is what will enable you to survive life.
A girl with a dragon tattoo and a beat up and disgraced journalist who come to believe in each other, share their vulnerabilities, open their hearts, and protect one another, learn their own lessons of survival in this sometimes brutal world.
See this movie.
© 2012 Timothy Moody