Publication: The Stranger
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 59135
Journal code: STRR


Swedish author Stieg Larsson's mystery The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a huge, best-selling success in America because it hit all the popular American buttons: sadistic killers, a fallen hero with a heart of gold, and lots of sex and violence. And so the cinematic adaptation of Tattoo, while very Swedish in pedigree (the cold, crisp location shots; the subtle performances; the languid pacing of some establishing scenes), is very American in many ways. It's got a big dumb soundtrack that telegraphs every emotion to the audience with a bullhorn's intensity, it sports a CSI-style fetishization of gore and suffering that takes great glee in its own nastiness, and it has an unfortunate compulsion to explain everything, treating the audience like dumb children. The best part of Tattoo, the real reason to watch it, is Noomi Rapace's turn as Lisbeth Salander, a goth computer hacker who gets involved in the case against her own better judgment. Things move quickly, but the stupidity of the film increases incrementally with each minute of the running time. The American movie trappings are a shame; a nice, languid, smart Swedish version would have been a real beauty to behold. And besides, an American remake is already in the works and scheduled for 2012 release. (PAUL CONSTANT)

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