Book Vs Movie: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

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When I bought The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, I was equipped with the knowledge that the book is massively hyped, even though it is not what caught me under its spell. In fact it’s the dragon TATTOO of the girl what made me cave in and pick the book. At that time I had no clue this girl is Stieg Larsson’s agent to remind us that there are certain things in life to which we turn a blind eye. One more casualty of sexual assault,  one more victim of social cannibalism, one more person in pain because of unfair jurisdiction, we sure do catch a glimpse from our peripheral vision. May be it’s because we are overloaded that we have become numb enough to hear but not listen and to look but not see the most of it. Anyway, it is only one of the reasons which makes the book/ movie commendable! So digging further in to the story…

(Sorry, but from here onwards this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie, PLEASE, stop right here, go read the book or watch the movie and come back again!)

… I can tell you that I thought it’s one explosive, monster of a thriller imbued with incredibly fascinating and unique characterization. Since you all may have read the novel or watched the movie, and already know how the combination of Mikael Blomkvist’s insistent journalism skills and Lisbeth Salander’s quite unconventional information gathering methods lead them towards discovering the gruesome history behind Vanger family, I’ll focus on the comparison of the book and the movie and try to come up with a winner!

First of all, I won’t deny that most of the readers would have found the first few chapters of the book to be extremely dull the way Stieg Larsson chose to describe Mikael’s libel trial. Given my accounting background, I thought it helps to encompass the characters, the situations they face and the way they are related, deeply. But most could have grown bored thinking it’s going to be a story about financial corruption. So according to my thinking, that start was definitely not the best way to make the readers stay excited! Anyway, after uncovering the novel’s strength –  Harriet’s mystery, in such an interesting and a shocking way, the book gets back in track from where it started, and devotes the last few chapters to describe how Mikael takes revenge from Wennerstrom, an industrial giant who falsely accuses Mikael of producing a slanderous article, again with the help of  indomitable Lisbeth. So, overall, despite poor choice Larsson had made at the beginning, I’d give five stars to this piece of writing.

And now moving to the movie, Lisbeth Salander’s characterization which makes the novel interesting, was pretty much lost in here. The sullen, anti-social and people skills lacking Salander is not much portrayed. And the reckless way Salander sends information to Mikael, making it obvious that she is a hacker when he has no idea who she is, is an insult done to her character, I dare say, specially when later in the movie Mikael suggests that Salander could be having a photographic memory in possession. Apart from the several plots which stretch credulity to a certain extend, the way it exposes to viewers how Salander becomes an enactor of justice, taking the matters into her hand, and resolving them in a way perhaps disturbing and disgusting, but undeniably fair and fitting compels viewers to confront their own ideas about the treatment meted out to the women in the society.

The winner? Although I like the movie, to me, ultimately the winning “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is the book, which pares the story down to its core. Now give me your thoughts. Which do you prefer the best?

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18 responses »

  1. I’ve read tons of people saying that the character of Salander is amazing, but I don’t get why? I don’t think she’s that unique as a character. She’s just an anti-social, gothic hacker…surely that’s quite conventional?

  2. I have not realy read the book But I watched the movie. Although its very slow moving I liked it. I guess the book must be exciting too. I kinda liked how Salander took things into her hands when things were rough. So i guess character was kinda interesting to see. 🙂 Good article

  3. Books which lose the qualities of a character give blame to either the screenwriter who converted the source material or the actor/actress in question. Who really let you down in the movie?

  4. I really don’t get this film, nor I understand the hype surrounding it
    I know I should read the books, but to be honest the film has made me even more uninterested in them than I already was.
    I will give it a go sooner or later though.

  5. I’ve borrowed the book but am still on the first chapter as it’s so unbelievably dull. Your post has given me a bit more motivation to try to carry on with it though. Will let you know how I go!

  6. Great review! I actually thought the film was really good, but I made sure I read the book first;P The series is definitely a page turner, and although there were bits I thought could have been edited better, overall they were very enjoyable to read even if it was disturbing in parts. Still have the third film to watch!

  7. There’s a movie?? Well i guess the movies are never as good as the book, but i’d sure like to see the person they made to play Lisbeth

    I think Steig Larsson is a gr8 writer and the 2nd book was even better (wthout the super villain off course). And if you dnt get Lisbeth read “The Girl WHo Kicked the Hornets Nest” and you’ll get her. From the onset I thought she was amazing dealing with ppl thinking she was less than she is. and being taken advantage off and having nowhere to run to!!

  8. මට හිතෙන්නේ මම මේ දෙක මොන ලෝකෙන් හරි හොයා ගෙන බැළුව නම් හොඳයි කියලා…
    (සිංහලෙන් කමෙන්ට් කලා​ට කමක් නැද්ද?)

  9. Book is amazing however the movie was very poor. The girl who played Salander was poorly cast and as for the screenplay they ignored significant plot points such as Birger’s relationship to Blompkvist, (who i will add was barely in the film at all), along with Cecilia’s relationship with Blompkvist, Armansky was barely in it at all, and they included unnecessary parts of the second and third book. Very very poor movie adaptation.

  10. Pingback: Book Vs. Movie: The Girl Who Played With Fire « To Make Me Look Busy

  11. Pingback: Book Vs Movie: The Girl Who Played With Fire « In parole semplici

  12. I really enjoyed the book although I was willing to plow through those first chapters. It turned out to be worth it, and gave me all I need to read the entire series. I’ve discovered you really can’t let a few chapters stop you from finishing a book. Slow does not equal bad writing. Heck I started Stephen King’s “It” no less than 3 times before I girded myself to finally finisn it, and that turned out to be a great book as well. To movie disappointed in retrospect because I knew how events in the first book lead on the the evolution of the two characters in subsequent books, but the movie left out a very important element that made me wonder how they were going to explain Salander’s actions in the next two films.

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