We continue my quest to watch the Oscar winners with the remaking of the Swedish hit, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson. If you don’t remember which Oscar it won, that’s because it was Best Film Editing, which I actually don’t agree with, but more on that later. Before we get to the review, we need full disclosure: I have not seen the Swedish version, nor have I read the books.
Although I am a Stieg Larsson virgin, I have still managed to get a detailed picture of what this movie was about before I ever sat down. Mikael Blomkvist, a reporter, is hired by a rich old Swede to look into the disappearance of his daughter forty years ago. He teams up with the disturbed hacker, Lisbeth Salander, aka the girl in the title.
First off, the acting is all great and I love Daniel Craig in everything he does. It’s a very well made film all around and I would recommend it to almost anyone (above a certain age). Praising stuff is boring, however, so I’ll get to the parts I had problems with.
Annoyance number one: the Swedish accents. A minor one, certainly, but why do the actors all have to say “Skål” when they should be saying cheers? Why is the pre-recorded no signal message on his phone in Swedish? Why do some actors have heavy Swedish accents, while others in the same family, not? Why do they say the names in Swedish!?
Maybe it’s not annoying for English-speakers, but I found it ruined quite a bit of the illusion for me. I was reminded constantly that this person was clearly Swedish, while another was clearly faking a Swedish accent for no apparent reason. I just don’t agree with the choice.
Second annoyance: editing. Yes, it was all very cool and interesting, and I suppose compared to other films it deserved the Oscar since not many film have editing that stands out. That’s often the point of great editing after all: if it’s really good, you won’t even notice it. You do notice it in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and I constantly found myself wishing they had cut just a few seconds later, or decided not to jump back and forth between the characters at the moment they did.
Around the midway point, I got the feeling I had fallen off the wagon in terms of figuring out the mystery. They sacrificed the audiences’ chance to discover the secret with the characters, for style. Instead, our understanding comes a couple of beats later, and I felt it robbed the scenes of their “oh, shit, it’s him” factor.
There were a lot of small, insignificant annoyances as well, but maybe I shouldn’t rant on about them. I will ask this: why does Lisbeth arrive back in Stockholm through the Oslo airport? I have been through that airport countless times and I’m pretty sure she got on the Express train to Oslo, yet when we see the interior, it looks thirty years old. Perhaps the Swedes employ the TSA and wouldn’t let them film there.
Do not think my ranting means I didn’t enjoy the film. In fact, when I get hung up on small stuff like this, it’s a good sign I enjoyed myself. I thought it was engaging and exciting most of the time (though it did have a very long ending).
Dice roll: 4