I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Netflix Instant streaming (which is fantastic for spontaneously watching movies that you missed or never wanted to pay theater prices for) and I was underwhelmed. I have not read the book, so I can’t speak as to the faithfulness of the film adaptation, but I can say that as a stand-alone Thriller, I found it lacking on many fronts. A film should stand on its own as a cohesive and satisfying narrative and not ask the audience to fill in the gaps, no matter if it was adapted from any kind of popular source material or it’s part one in a trilogy.
I’m a big fan of the genre and I’m always on the look-out for the next Great Thriller. I’m hoping for a new twist on classic Thriller archetypes and story engines driven by a character that I can emotionally invest in such that when they’re in danger I feel true tension for them. Think of Clarice Starling fumbling around in the dark, pistol out, as the serial killer Jame Gumb shadows her with the night-vision goggles. True terror.
Lisbeth Salander? You are no Clarice Starling. (Yes, Lisbeth is an interesting character; she’s the best thing about the film, but for me, she can’t make up for the many flaws in the story.)
If The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wasn’t based on a best-selling book and I read it as a spec, I would have sent it back to the slush pile. Here’s why…
5 things wrong with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the Swedish movie):
1. Lisbeth and boys. Talk about repetition. Lisbeth Salander burns a guy alive in a flashback from her youth, ostensibly for revenge. Lisbeth tortures and rapes her probation officer, definitely for revenge after the bastard did the same to her. Lisbeth watches the serial killer burn in the overturned car…sweet revenge for all of those women he murdered. And in the end, Lisbeth steals millions from the unseen tycoon Wennerstrom and starts a new life; revenge for falsely convicting her new lover, Mikael Blomkvist.