Larsson’s Story: Better read than seen

Am I too late to be obsessed with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

Is there anybody out there still interested to listen about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

Whatever.

I am experiencing Larsson’s fever. To cure such fever, I need to write all my thoughts to my heart’s content about the story that had been part of my summer. They say when you’re done reading a book, it’s like losing a friend. Like losing a loved one, it is hard to move on, especially when you think about Larsson gone forever. You need to talk about it all over again just to lessen the burden of losing someone.

Probably by now, you must have watched the film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If you haven’t, read the book first.

I highly recommend to read the book first before you watched the movie. For one reason, you will not have any feelings towards the film. You will not feel betrayed if the movie does not meet your expectation. Or, you will not learn to like it, the way people who have read the book first. You’ll just feel neutral. Why?

First, if you are not listening carefully to the dialogues of the characters, you might get lost in the story. The book is heavy in dialogue, same with the movie. It’s about digging facts. This means if you are not paying much attention to some boring movie scenes like Salander browsing her computer or Blomkvist browsing the pictures, you might not be able to understand the story.

Second, it is not as thrilling as the book. When you read a mystery novel, you end up saying, “I knew it! ” or you might say,” I should have known.” Because a 158-minute film cannot include everything found on the book, it does not mentally torture you with a number of motives, prospects, or evidence. You don’t feel like guessing at all.

Third, the film adaptation does not tell you much of how deep the partnership of Blomkvist and Salander is. Blomkvist and Salander spend a lot of time together in the book. They have long walks. They sit in the garden. They have coffee and sandwich. It is quite understandable that any director will choose to leave these details out. But these little moments in the book can make you feel that you’ve known Blomkvist and Salander for a long time.

Fourth, you will not get to know Salander and Blomkvist, the way readers do. You cannot read the characters’ thoughts in film. The movie cannot make the audience fully realize that Lisbeth Salander has a heart too (though Rooney Mara played the role well). The film adaptation does not  show scenes of  Salander and her mother which I think  is an important part of Salander’s history.

But…

I am not saying the movie is no good at all. I am happy that David Fincher tried to be  faithful to the book. I saw some parts of the first film adaptation of The Girl with Dragon Tattoo, the Swedish version. By comparison, I can say that the Hollywood version fits more to my imagination. Most of the lines were taken from the book. David Fincher kept some scenes disturbing as they were in the book. Fincher was as highly detailed  in making the film as Larsson was as highly detailed in writing his novel. He was unforgiving in brutally showing the biggest moment in the trilogy of Larsson. I had to close my eyes.

The lead actors were perfect for their roles. Daniel Craig looked stern and attractive. That’s how Mikael Blomkvist should be! Rooney Mara is such a pretty lady. But she was uglified in the movie. Did you know she need to get drunk to internalize her role as Lisbeth Salander? For someone who had not been drinking,  it was  very convincing to see her with psychological problems. Her voice also fits to Larsson’s description of  Salander’s voice, as someone who sounds like a sandpaper.  Also, she had a Swedish accent. She had an expressionless face in the entire movie which I must say, that is so Lisbeth. My only problem with Rooney is her height. Lisbeth Salander is 4’11 tall but Rooney Mara  is 5’6 tall. David Fincher said he could not  find someone who was as short as Lisbeth Salander. Oh Fincher, you should have  visited the Philippines!  LOL

What the novels lacks, the movie can provide. David Fincher captures artistic shots of Sweden. The sounds amplified the tension. You can see how gloomy Vanger’s  mansion is. The winter atmosphere made the film darker. You can almost shiver as you enter the gates of Vanger’s home. For a story that does not require a lot of action scenes, the cast and production manage to make the story visually entertaining.

Watch the movie…..

But for your own sake, read the book first.

Tattoo Addiction

I thought I had enough of suspense thriller but I was wrong.

After having book and clothing shopping abstinence for two months, I decided to pay a visit in National Book Store. I had a book in mind but I made a split-second decision by picking The Girl with the  Dragon Tattoo. The book cover spoke to me it was a “sexy thriller. ” And without having second thoughts, I took my cash out and consoled myself it was cheaper than the protein shake I had in Manila Peninsula.

At first, I did not plan to read the book because I was intimidated by its length. Plus, it had too many names, and some said it was just “fairly good”. I was expecting to finish reading the book within a month but lo, and behold, I finished the book within nine days. It was definitely a page-turner that I could not put the book down. I was rapidly flipping the pages as if I were a bank robber in a hurry to steal and escape.

Just a short preview: The story revolves around the two characters. Mikael Blomkvist, is a financial journalist who is facing libel charges. Lisbeth Salander is a highly skillful researcher who is considered mentally incompetent. They are tasked to solve a murder case dated forty years ago. The event of discovering the truth behind the murder leads them to discover more secrets.

Reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is like reading a tabloid. It tackles on violence, murder, rape, incest, corruption, corporate crime, ethics, and some moral issues. I bought the idea “it was a sexy thriller”. I find out that there is no sexiness in it but it has a lot of disturbing scenes. If you are reading the book, you will be glad that you are seeing these scenes only though your imagination. If you are watching the movie, you will be glad that it is only happening on screen. If you are asking for romance, categorically speaking, there is none. But within my paradigm, there is. It is something you wish to happen even after you read the book.

 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo stands out among other crime stories probably because of the plot’s complexity. It’s like there are two stories to follow, two crimes to understand. Its plot is cleverly done and satisfying as well.

In terms of writing style, I like how Steig Larsson for that. (Though you have to note that it was originally written in Swedish then was translated by Reg Keeland in English) You can tell Steig Larsson is a journalist by the way he wrote the novel. The sentence structures are simple. The descriptions are not very intricate but vivid enough to haunt you. The language is very accessible that a fifth grader can read the novel, given that the kid can grasp adult concepts. I like the way he chops the scenes in the book. Each section leaves you a conclusion which you later find out it is just a mere suspicion.

I read a review in Good Reads that the lead characters are not “likable.” Indeed, they are not likable but they have traits that you will want to have. Michael Blookmvist is very detail-oriented, very systematic. Salander is mentally incapacitated but her memory and analytical skills are above the average. Well, we always like intelligent characters.

What I also like about the book is that it deals with ethical and moral dilemmas. For instance, will you do what is proper with the risk of doing greater harm to a person who is in good faith? When I was reading the book, I was reminded by the Impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona though it was entirely a different thing. I remember that one of prosecution lawyers said something like this “ if an evidence is obtained illegally, it doesn’t mean it cannot be used and that it is invalid. Thus, can it be said that the end justifies the means?  Blomkvist is a man of principle but as what one of the characters said, “You had to choose between your  role as a journalist and your role as a human being.”

While I took a pause from reading, I found a scratch in my elbow. I got it from Sweden while I was tracking a criminal with Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. After I read, I browsed the pages of Financial Times. I realized I took my free subscription for granted. I watched the movie. Now, I’m excited to read The Girl who Played with Fire.

Too bad the author died before his novels became phenomenal.

P.S. If by any chance, read the book before watching the movie. The movie is faithful to the book but the reading experience is much better.