The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
(Män som hatar kvinnor)
Directed by Neils Arden Oplev
“Millennium: Part 1 – Men Who Hate Women” – International (English title) (series title)
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – International (English title)
Try and see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s the first of the three movies in the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larrson, which is a major international bestseller. Apparently, the estate insisted on a Swedish production before anything else.
The audio book versions of all three novels are discussed at length in the Audio Books article on this site. These were abridged versions, getting the book down to six or seven hours. The movie has to do it in just over two, and succeeds by ruthlessly eliminating sub-plots, and refining the theme to its major strand, taken at pace. After the denoument, the strands are drawn together in both the book and the film, though in the film they’d hardly been touched on. The way this was done, absolutely coherently, is a master class in adaptation from book to film. They didn’t shirk about taking major decisions about re-sequencing some bits, and maintained the exciting central action. It’s a major contrast with the lacklustre film of the Da Vinci Code, where everyone I spoke to felt they’d come a very poor second to the book.
You need to see the Swedish one, as it’s extremely good and I fear a lot will be lost in the forthcoming Hollywood version. Everyone looks real in the Swedish one, which may not be so when Hollywood fills it with perfect people. It’s fascinating to see professional actors who’ve had long careers, and honed their craft without ever becoming the major stars equivalent American or British actors would have done. One result is you think of the guy playing Mikael Blomkvist as Mikael Blomkvist. Put George Clooney in the part and you’d be thinking George Clooney all the time In fact, Clooney is exactly who I’d cast for the American version.
Swedish-English: “mördare” = “murderer”. “mördad” = “murdered”.
“kan ringa” = “can ring (you)”/”will call (you)”.
(Courtesy of a friend)
I was smiling at the translation, not speaking a word of Swedish it sounded just like they were saying “murder” and “murdered” in Swedish, but the author of the English subtitles had to prove they were working by translating it as “killer” and “killed”. There were lots like that. I can’t remember them all, but found myself trying to guess the Swedish a lot. One was someone saying something like “can ring” but the subtitle was “will call.
But I’ve always been a harsh judge of subtitles, which I vastly prefer to dubbing. The mind doesn’t take to seeing the lips moving differently to what you hear. We spent enough weeks effectively “dubbing” Wallace and Gromit into ELT-friendly English to know that. My dislike of dubbing began in the 60s when I watched Un Homme Et Une Femme, first with English subtitles, then a few months later in a dubbed version. In the subtitled version, the guy at the station shrugs as his lover leaves and murmurs ‘Les femmes …’ In the English dubbed version, a Jerry Lewis soundalike pipes up with ‘Oh, boy! I guess you’ll never understand women if you live to be a hundred!’ Words were gained, but something was lost.