The Lindgren trilogy

I recently was able to watch the original Swedish film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009), thus completing the cycle; I have also read the books — translated into English, of course — and watched the 2011 American film version of the first book in the trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I also blogged about the reel librarian character, Lindgren, who shows up in the book, in this post, and in the American film version, here in this post. And now, with this post, I complete the Lindgren trilogy.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo collage

click collage for original image sources

However, Lindgren was nowhere to be found in the Swedish film adaptation, making it a Class V film. No “if looks could kill” librarian glare. No battle of wills between the reel librarian and the researcher/hacker Lisbeth. NO LINDGREN. Imagine my disappointment! 😦

(By the way, I am totally going to put her name in all caps from now on. Just because.)

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

Toward the end of the film, we do get the cinematic trick of cutting back and forth between Mikael and Lisbeth as they zero in on the killer’s identity, albeit from two different locations and pathways. Lisbeth figures it out by looking up archives at the Vanger Industry headquarters. This scene is briefly detailed in the book — again, click here for my post where I highlighted the specific book passages — and the scene, as well as Lindgren’s role, is actually expanded in the David Fincher’s American film version. In the Swedish version, however, this scene feels abbreviated, or at least simplified. There is no tension of Lisbeth racing against time and battling Lindgren for access to the locked archive files; instead, Frode provides archives access to Lisbeth up front. The tension is focused solely on Lisbeth tracking down clues from the archive files and receipts and running down the bookcase aisles with loads of books and file boxes in her arms.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

It is nice to know, however, that Lisbeth is as equally dismissive of Frode in the Swedish version as she was of LINDGREN in the American version. 😉

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

Funnily enough, there is an additional library scene in the Swedish version, when Lisbeth and Mikael research newspaper reports of earlier murders; the scene occurs a little more than halfway through the 2 1/2 hour running time. The library in that scene is obviously a public library, but alas, no librarian appears — not even in the background. It’s interesting to note that in the American version, the research of earlier murders is handled remotely, as Lisbeth gets to show off her research skills — and mastery of Boolean logic! — to track down online police and newspaper accounts of earlier murders.

Reel Librarians  |  Screenshot from 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2009)

Although I bemoan the lost opportunity of another LINDGREN glare, I can understand why the character was dropped. The plot doesn’t lose anything major by axing the reel librarian character, although it was useful to know in the book (and American film version) that Martin Vangar was using LINDGREN as a way to keep tabs on Lisbeth’s whereabouts; this added another layer of awareness as the net tightened. However, the shorter and simpler archives scene in the Swedish version helps to amp up the pace toward the final third of the film. (By contrast, David Fincher spun out the archives scene in his version to add tension, which also worked.)

American version (2011) The Book (2005) Swedish Version (2009)
Librarian character name: Lindgren Bodil Lindgren — we get her first name! N/A
Archives access: Lindgren tries to lock up. When Lisbeth resists and requires access to locked records, she tells Lindgren to “call Frode.” Lindgren is unhappy about giving Lisbeth access, “but Herr Frode had given her instructions that could not be misinterpreted. This slip of a girl was to be free to look at anything she pleased.” Frode, Henrik Vangar’s lawyer, personally introduces Lisbeth to the archives.
Martin Vangar reference: “archives manager” “archives manager” N/A

I quite enjoyed the 2009 Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, especially the fearless performance of Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth. I found it interesting to mentally compare the Swedish and American versions — even beyond their choice to include LINDGREN or not! — and I honestly cannot choose a favorite. They are both done so well, and the lead actresses both so well cast, that the two films are equally good in my mind. One can enjoy both and appreciate them for the distinct expressions of artistic creativity they are.

The Swedish version gains points by being Swedish, of course, but the American version gains that ground back by including LINDGREN and that classic librarian glare.

If looks could kill

If looks could kill

And we end with that chill-worthy parting shot of LINDGREN from the 2011 American film version. You’re welcome. 😉

LINDGREN.

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One comment on “The Lindgren trilogy

  1. Makes you wish that LINDGREN had been played by SWINTON! 😉

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