Book vs. Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009+2011)

Both book and movies are pretty famous by now. But somehow I never managed to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. At least not until a few weeks ago when I stumbled through the library in desperate need for a good read for the weekend. By now I’m almost finished with the last book in the Millenium series! And I caught up on the movies as well 😉


(2011 adaptation)


The Plot:
The journalist Mikael Blomkvist hit rock bottom. After his magazine Millenium published an investigative report on Wennerström, Blomkvist was sentenced to prison as his allegations turned out to be wrong. While he takes a break, he gets an unexpected proposal. Mikael Blomkvist is asked to investigate an 40-year-old murder case. With the help of the super investigator and social nightmare Lisbeth Salander he discovers some interesting findings…


Book vs. Movie:
First, the book. I couldn’t put it down. It took me about two and a half days to get through the over 600 pages and I instantly went to grab the second part. Usually crime thrillers are not my most beloved genre but Stieg Larsson builds up tension like no other. The story grips you, stumbling from one plot-twist to another you can’t wait to read just one more chapter. Although the characters – especially Lisbeth Salander – are a bit, well, let’s call it special you bond with them. I got so pulled into the story I had completely forgotten about the framing plot with Wennerström and was a little startled when there were some chapters on that matter right at the end of the book. As you can see, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an extraordinary thriller.
(Little side note: what really fascinates me is how different the titles of the book. So far I only mention the English title. The original title MĂ€n som hatar kvinnor actually means Men who hate women.)

Let me continue with the movies.
I’ll begin with the Swedish adaptation of 2009: This movie kept rather close to the book. I enjoyed the way the story was told and liked the music that was used. However, the actors didn’t blow me away. Especially Noomi Rapace was lacking some intensity as Lisbeth Salander. She just couldn’t get her across the right way. Furthermore, the movie wasn’t that atmospheric. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid and decent film but it’s by far not as capturing as the book. What I did appreciate on the other hand is the hints on the second book they included in the film. There are Swedish adaptations for all of the books and they did a good job making connections between the films.

(2009 adaptation)


On to the Hollywood adaptation (2011): At first I should state the movie is not an exact adaptation of the book. It takes the novel as a base and then builds something new. I was a bit irritated as many parts of the plot were changed or left out, also very important ones. But even though the movie is so different from the novel, it is extremely atmospheric. You can clearly tell that the budget was bigger than for the Swedish film. This also shows when it comes to the cast. At first I was a bit sceptic about Daniel Craig in the leading role but he did an amazing job. Actually the cast only consists of superb actors: Robin Wright, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Goran Visnjic just to name a few. But who impressed me most is Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. She captured her very essence and really brought the character to life.
Unfortunately there is only an adaptation of the first novel but I really hope to see the other two books as well!

As you can see, it’s difficult to pick a winner here! The book is absolutely brilliant and you will not be able to put it down. It’s the kind of novel that gets under your skin. Both of the adaptations have their advantages, but it’s impossible to choose this time. Go check out all of them!

Read the book? Seen the film? Let me know in the comments what you think!

14 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009+2011)

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