No one who loves the saga of Beowulf is surprised as to how an area like Scandinavia; famous for its furniture, relaxed attitude towards adultery and, of course, jumpers; could have produced something as dark and brooding as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Monsters lurked in the dark 1200 years ago; and director David Fincher, in the Hollywood film version of the novel, shows they are still there in the half-light of a Swedish winter, as journalist Mikael Blomkvist sets out to find a killer of women.
There was a lot of grumbling about this remake, especially when the Swedish trilogy is so good, but by insisting on filming this in Sweden too, Fincher has delivered a movie absorbed in its surroundings. Behind the characters' icy good manners and minimalist décor, lurks unflinching and visceral violence.
Both Blomkvist and his sidekick, Lisbeth Salander, venture into the mere to find their monster -and all good crime fans will know it's inevitable someone will get trapped in his lair.
Once it's in your head that Blomkvist isn't Bond, Daniel Craig is a good fit. Bundled up in lambswool against the cold, he bleats helplessly against Salander's aggressive sexuality. Rooney Mara, who owns the part of Salander, brings vulnerability to what would otherwise be a Scandi Lady Gaga - a tiny frame swathed in leather, copping off with boys and girls on whim, telling everyone to like it or lump it - she was born this way, baby.
It shouldn't be a surprise that she is so tough. After all, didn't Beowulf kick the monster Grendel's butt, but come a serious cropper against his mother? As anyone who's read The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo will know, the most dangerous creature alive is a wounded woman wanting revenge.
I hope Lisbeth Salander remains an unique heroine in film. If Hollywood try and make more of her, they'll grow her hair, enlarge her breasts, and increase her secret desire to be saved - et voila you'll have Anne Hathaway in Catwoman.
This girl belongs in Scandinavia, and so does the trilogy. Scary stories were first told in the dark and the cold. Nameless horrors crouched beyond the light of the campfires, with only a bold hero (or heroine) to save them. Crime fiction started here.
More:The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Movie The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Daniel Craig Crime Fiction Scandanavia
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