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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo




On Sunday after our morning Sunday ritual of Murray's bagel, my Dad and I decided, since it was raining, to go see a movie. 



I had mentioned earlier in the weekend that it was supposed to rain on Sunday and if it did I would love to take him to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  He was pretty hesitant. But on Sunday after our delicious breakfast and walking around in the cold rain he eventually decided a movie was a good idea. 



So we walked down Houston to Landmark Sunshine Cinema and stood outside for twenty minutes until the doors opened.  They opened exactly ten minutes before the movie started.  We were a little annoyed, cold and wet. My friend Kristen grabbed a coffee and croissant and hopped in a cab to join us! 


About thirty minutes into the movie my Dad looked over at me and said "Thank you so much for taking me to see this movie! It is unbelievable."  The movie is long. About three hours long actually. The first time I saw the movie was at the Hamptons International Film Festival.  I knew my Dad would love the movie. He explained later he had absolutely no idea what it was about but he was so glad he saw it. He currently just finished the second book yesterday while my Mom started on the first one. 





I read all three books and they were amazing. My favorite was the second. My boss brought back the third one for me from Europe since it is out in hard back there already. I was lucky enough to be able to share the book with my friend Sara who read it in a week. We just couldn't put the books down! I can't wait for Jennie to finish the first book! 

I have heard from some people that it is hard to get into at first because it is so confusing. That is true. There are about four story lines starting off. The coolest part is to see how they all connect. 

Here is the synopsis and a little about the film from the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo website. 


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first of a trilogy of novels by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson that have become a worldwide publishing phenomenon. Director Niels Arden Oplev’s film version, with a box office of $100 million, has become the biggest grossing European film of 2009.  Subsequent European release of film versions of the other books in the trilogy  – THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST – have extended the success of the franchise.
Synopsis
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investigate.
When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger’s are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.
The most popular European film of 2009, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an award-winning mystery thriller based on Stieg Larsson's international best-selling novel about a disgraced journalist and a troubled young female computer hacker who investigate the mysterious disappearance of an industrialist's niece. Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvis) and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. (Fully subtitled) 


When I read Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for the first time, it was nowhere near as popular as the novel is now. I expected a traditional thriller, but as I quickly turned the pages, I found something much more.  It was not only a thriller. It was also a mystery drama with strong and special characters, which develop throughout the story. I immediately felt a strong connection with Lisbeth, the dark rebel, and Blomkvist, the leftist watchdog.
The producer Sören Stærmose came to me with the project. My condition for signing on was having overall artistic control. I saw this as the only way to make a successful film based on such a popular novel. Every decision had to be about making the best possible film.
I wanted a film with strong emotions, high credibility and very realistic characters. The visual style and production design had to convey a cinematic experience. Entertaining yet also edgy and with a distinguished Nordic feel. And I wanted all the small clues and details in Larsson’s book to be there – old still photos, which make Harriet come alive, old footage from the bridge accident and the Vanger family. The pictures convey the feeling of experiencing a whole century.
Larsson wrote about injustice and violence against women. It was very important for me to transfer that to the film.  That’s why the violence in the film feels so realistic.  Lisbeth is the most important female heroine to emerge from Scandinavia in decades and she is a strong inspiration for many women. No matter what is done to her, she always fights back. She never allows herself to become a victim.
There must be a special connection between the actor and the character. An emotional investment which enriches the written character from the script. Michael Nyqvist presents us with the humanity, empathy and heavyweight intellectualness which we expect from his character, Michael Blomkvist. And he does this so well, we want to follow him throughout the whole story. Noomi Rapace transformed herself into her character and breathed her out of every pore, not only physically but also mentally. Her performance as Lisbeth Salander is nothing less than outstanding.
The feeling on the set was that every shooting day was a battle for quality. A battle we were determined to win. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo became the best selling film in Europe in 2009 and the only Scandinavian film in history to cross 100 million dollars.
I hope you will enjoy it as well.

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