By Laura P. Valtorta
Lisbeth Salander does not care what the world thinks of her, nor would she ever fix coffee or breakfast for anyone. She is the hero of Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel, Man som hatar Kvinnor (Men who Hate Women). The American screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, fails to realize this, while the Swedish screenwriters of the 2009 film, Nikolia Arcie and Rasmussen Heisterberg, got it right on target.
Everyone should read all three books and see all three Swedish movies before they watch the American imitation.
The American film hands too much power to Michael, Lisbeth’s counterpoint. It was LIsbeth who solved the mystery of the bible verses in the book, not Michael. The American film turns that around.
The American director, David Fincher, also takes away one of Lisbeth’s key scenes. When Michael comes looking for Lisbeth, who has been hacking into his computer, he confronts her in her tiny, messy apartment sleeping with her longtime lover, Miriam. In the Swedish version (and in the book), Lisbeth stands there staring hard at the intruder. She does not care what Michael sees, and she allows him to drink spoiled coffee, which he spits out into the sink. The American story has Lisbeth ashamed of her lover and practically cowering, as Michael chases Miriam out. The Swedish Lisbeth would never allow that.
The real Lisbeth would never make breakfast for Michael, either, but strangely, that happens in the American film after they make love for the first time. In the Swedish film, Michael makes the breakfast and Lisbeth wolfs it down.
The worst indignity of this American imitation film is when Lisbeth asks permission to execute the murderer. In the book, Lisbeth allows him to die, but Michael chastises her for it afterwards.
Great acting saves the American film, despite the misogynistic screenplay and bad directing. Thanks to Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, this film is worth watching. Even Robin Wright is fun to hate. Lisbeth’s costumes are excellent as well.