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 history, 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. Give me your thoughts. Which do you prefer the best?