The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Stieg Larssen’s Lisbeth Salander is right up there with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher as one of the best genre literary creations of the last few decades. The Swedish film trilogy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are among the best movies I’ve ever seen. The American re-make is merely okay, though of course most Americans don’t know that, because the original is in Swedish, and we don’t cotton to them foreigners.
Casting the role of Salander is incredibly important. Noomi Rapace was absolutely brilliant. She should have won the Oscar that year, as her performance was better than the winner, Kate Winslet, or any of the nominees: Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo, and Meryl (yes, Meryl!) Streep. But she wasn’t even nominated. Rooney Mara was only okay.
They were saying that Claire Foy, in this one, was pretty good in a not-so-good movie. It would certainly be a change for her, from her Emmy-winning role as the young Queen Elizabeth in The Crown.
I was dubious, of course. See, Larssen died before his trilogy became the international sensation that it is today … and yet, this movie was based on a fourth book. What happened? Well, it’s a sordid story, involving Sweden’s amazing lack of a common law standing for Larssen’s companion of almost thirty years. She got dick, and his father and brother, who he hated! got all the rights. And the first thing they did was commission a guy named David Lagercrantz to write at least two more novels about Salander. This novel was acceptable as a thriller, though I thought he neglected Lisbeth. The fifth one, The Girl Who Takes as Eye For an Eye, was a total piece of crap, one of the worst books I’ve ever finished. Lisbeth was hardly in it. I think the stinking motherfucker wants to transition her into the scrap heap and populate any new books with the awful, cardboard characters he has created. I mean, he is a dreadful writer! I will damn sure not read a sixth.
I’m sad to say that this movie is not even as good as the fourth book. They have transformed her into a Swedish female James Bond, and the plot into an inferior Bond movie. She makes stupid mistakes that Lisbeth would never have made. She is always getting tied up, beaten senseless, or vacuum-packed into a rubber bag. (I’m not making this up.) Lisbeth was always a great hacker, but her hacks were believable. Here, she starts out hacking into the NSA. Bullshit! Then she and her high-tech hacker friends … oh, what’s the use. This movie is a total repudiation of everything Lisbeth Salander should be. I place the blame squarely on Stieg’s brother and father. Shame on you, Erland and Joakim Larssen, you greedy, grasping fucks. May you both shiver eternally in a cold Swedish Hell, with nothing to eat but rock-hard frozen lutefisk that you have to heat by sticking it up your asses.