'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' Gets a Makeover

More
rosenberg_aug02_dragontattoo_post.jpg

Danish Filminstitute


I think the debate over which lovely young starlet will end up playing Lisbeth Salander in the remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and thus likely end up launched on a significant American movie career, illustrates why the remake is a poor idea in the first place.


I've read the first book in Stieg Larsson's trilogy, and while I didn't much like it, there were things about it that I admired. I am of the camp that believes that his depictions of sexual violence against women were slightly too prurient to be useful acts of illustration or witness. But I admired the severity of the book, the coldness of the landscape, the implacability of history, the badness of the people, and the fact that Larsson has got millions of Americans reading a book that essentially argues that capitalism is inherently rapacious and leads to acts of gender violence. It's a fairly impressive trick.

But I also think that if those books carried over the cold Atlantic so well in their pure form that it's a bit unfortunate to try to translate the movie versions, even if the translator will be David Fincher. And I have some qualms about upping the star quotient involved. Perhaps they'll be a reminder that before he was James Bond, Daniel Craig was a remarkably protean actor. And perhaps whoever is cast as Lisbeth will vanish into the unpleasant (though not without cause, of course), anti-social nature of the character rather than turning Lisbeth sweet enough for American palates and the actress's good looks. But I rather fear on that score. David Fincher's never been particularly afraid of showing us violence, though he often makes the victims or the people who commit the acts rather pretty. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a stern, often unattractive book about people who are often somewhat unattractive in their unwillingness to compromise. It doesn't need prettification. It needs commitment. 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In