The (Broken) Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (aka Män Som Älskar Brutet Flickor)

"The World's Coolest Heroine"

By Jonathan J. Morris,

Released about two months ago into the crowded glut of holiday awards season, David Fincher’s movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has clearly already had its moment in the Scandinavian sun. Arriving with a heavy dose of critical praise and entering theaters with a snarl of assumed feminist defiance, the film left them with surprising rapidity and an almost audible whimper over how little money it made, at least compared to somewhat over-elevated expectations. Based on the first of the late Stieg Larssen’s bestselling “Millennium” novels, which, like many bestsellers, falls firmly into the category of “overrated,” the film will nonetheless likely prove to be the first of a cinematic trilogy, in spite of its modest success.  Of course, though it hardly needs to be restated, this was not the first movie version of Larssen’s novel, nor even the first in recent memory. The 2009 Swedish language adaptation, by the standards of foreign films, had a fairly significant cultural footprint in the United States and earned about $100 million dollars worldwide.  As films go, the Swedish version wasn’t bad for a straight-forward mystery movie; elevated, if that’s the right word for it, by its unflinching portrayal of explicit sexual violence and the characterization of its singular heroine, Lisbeth Salander.  Indeed, the most memorable aspect of that film was Salander, dynamically portrayed by Noomi Rapace, who deservedly has been parlaying that part into international stardom.  No doubt Rooney Mara, who plays the character in the American version, has herself already been doing the same.

The Two Lisbeths: The American Rooney Mara and the Swedish Noomi Rapace.

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