The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

January 9, 2012

Full disclosure:  I haven’t read the book or seen the Swedish version of the movie.  My friends and I went to this because of the 4-5 movies out now that we kind of want to see, this had the most convenient start time.

I almost didn’t write about this at all because I fear my reaction to it is idiosyncratic and unhelpful.  It tripped a few too many of my narrative cliche/kick-ass heroine pet peeves.  For example, a half hour into the film:

**Spoiler**

Mikael:  How did Harriet die?

Henrik:  Oh, the body was never found.

Me:  Then she’s not dead and she’ll turn up alive by the end of the movie.

*two hours later*

Mikael:  Harriet?

Harriet:  OMG how did you find me!

Me:  Wow, this is a long movie.

(As an aside, this plot twist is predictable enough that I’ve seen a few TV mysteries rig it so that the cops may not find a body, but they find enough of the victim’s blood that “she couldn’t possibly have survived.”  When in fact the “victim” saved many pints of her blood to leave at the scene of her disappearance so no one would look for her.  This, too, has become cliche.)

**End Spoiler**

Many people like this movie.  There’s a nice mystery/thriller tucked inside it somewhere.  But I spent most of its nearly three hours (!) rewriting it in my head.  I’m curious about the book now, if it maybe handles some of this a bit more deftly.

Oh, and then we get to the end credits, which feature a goth/industrial remake of Bryan Ferry’s “Is Your Love Strong Enough,” that originally appeared on the soundtrack to Legend.  Dear reader, I laughed.  I wondered if this was some sort of statement, like “Let’s take this song from a 30 year old fantasy movie about how innocence and light face darkness and evil and redo it for this movie about confronting human depravity, to suggest that innocence simply isn’t that powerful.”  Like, maybe there’s some deeper meaning I’m supposed to be getting.  Or, as my friend suggested, maybe they just figured nobody would remember that song existed.  Nobody but me, that is.

(P.S.:  I should also mention, this film is not for the squeamish.)

13 Responses to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”


  1. You should have gone to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy instead. We were on the edge of our seats throughout.

  2. carriev Says:

    That was my first choice, actually… timing didn’t work out.

  3. Michael Ash Says:

    Hey your not the only person that remembers that song🙂
    “Avalon” from Roxy music was in the book “World War Z”
    It will be interesting to see if it is used in the movie version.

    if you have a spare hour watch “Nordic Noir” from the BBC time Shift series
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wvcyj

    It’s a good doc about the Nordic murder/mystery writers.
    It gives a good background to the society and times in which the books were written.

  4. Jakk Says:

    Actually, that song is my all time favorite song, Carrie. I am a big Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry fan. The remake of Immigrant song from the movie title is much better and not quite as laughable.

    And yes, i bought the song (45) and the album when it was released waaaay back in mid eighties.🙂

  5. carriev Says:

    I love the Bryan Ferry version, and listen to it all the time, which is why when the credits started I had this weird moment of “wait a minute, I should know this, what is this, what’s going on here?” Then I figured it out and started laughing.

    I agree that the opening credit remake was much better/less intrusive.

  6. Jim Van Pelt Says:

    The book didn’t do much for me (although I did finish it, which I can’t say about every book I’ve picked up in the last couple of years). When I read it, I kept thinking how a workshop would rightfully pick it apart: “Why is the first third of the book a boring lecture about corruptions in the Swedish, business journalist communitiy?” “It looks like authorial wish fulfillment that the main character sleeps with every woman in the book.” “What is the main character’s emotional connection to any part of the plot?” Etc.

  7. Raye Says:

    hey now! not just you…😀 I haven’t seen the film, but I have been a lot lately that I think “now THIS is going to happen” and it does… and oh, “now THAT is going to happen”

    I just wanna be surprised… PLEASANTLY so.. lol


  8. The book is slightly different, but the point is the same as your spoiler section. It’s also VERY long and drawn out. So many tedious details. I enjoyed the movie much more than the book.. so perhaps you don’t even want to venture there.. haha.

    Mickey @ imabookshark.com

  9. Burgandy Ice Says:

    🙂 That would be why I’m not interested in the movie!!! I thought this comment hilarious:

    “Why is the first third of the book a boring lecture about corruptions in the Swedish, business journalist communitiy?” “It looks like authorial wish fulfillment that the main character sleeps with every woman in the book.” “What is the main character’s emotional connection to any part of the plot?”

    It would be fun to pick the book apart like that.

    I think I decided the morals were so turned around, I didn’t know which end was up or who I wanted to win. I supposed the girl… but she hung out with that guy… so what does that say about her?

    Weird. Thx for rewriting it for us.

  10. Re WIlliams Says:

    I read the book and saw the Swedish movie. No idea what the American one did, but there was one scene that was so disturbingly violent that I turned off the DVD. Next time around with friends I knew when to close my eyes and made it through. Really liked the actress, not so impressed with the movie.

    Oh the book. I had nothing else in the house and read it, skimming over all the boring details …

  11. carriev Says:

    The scene you’re talking about is incredibly violent and disturbing. And the one after it…

  12. Jacqie Says:

    The book does not do it better.

    And I didn’t even recognize the Bryan Ferry song, and I love that song! Boo!


  13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a masterwork of fine craftsmanhip. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. A middle aged journalist, and a troubled but incredibly talented young woman who works as a PI intersect to solve a labyrinthine plot. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. I cannot wait to read the sequels.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. I’m waiting for the two final books of this trilogy. It is so sad that the author has passed away and we won’t be meeting the characters for more than just 3 books.


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