January 15th, 2011 | stuff2011
Katie West commented to me the other day that she’d started keeping lists of the culture she consumed this year, because doing a year-end list always favours the last five things you saw or read. So I just watched this:
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, Swedish language. The odd thing about this adaptation of Larsson — as opposed to the same team’s adapation of DRAGON TATTOO — is that the changes made from the book seem to make it a better adaptation, but not necessarily a better film. It’s a streamlined true Larsson, rather than a less-true Larsson optimised for film.
The ending of DRAGON TATTOO, the book, is like a great orchestral strike followed by two hours of variations on minor themes as members of the orchestra drift off one by one until there’s just some geezer left tinkling a triangle. The film version ends with a nice little rimshot. PLAYED WITH FIRE is stripped down, but is so protective of the spine of the storytelling that the ending, which in the book is a collision of plotlines… really kind of drags. Kinder to the book in lots of ways (crueller in a few: Bublanski becomes a cartoon, for example, and the more gothic aspects of Niederman are erased, which also affects the climax). Less successful as a film.
Still a joy to watch Noomi Rapace and the undervalued Michael Nyquist work.