the original novel of the girl with the dragon tattoo deals with the corruption of neoliberal information economy, the loothole of swedish welfare state regarding the violence against women and the force of european xenophobia since ww2(nazism, and the nowegian massacre was the best proof that it still exists). there’re two polarized spatial forms juxtaposed interchangably: the invisible immanent cyberspace where lisabeth salander could flow fluently within and the xenophobic space of hedestade (a fictional swedish town for vanger family)…the original title of it is MEN WHO HATE WOMEN. and each chapter has a man who hates women manifested, awaiting to be eliminated by lisabeth salander. it also shows how frightfully savage this world could be, concerning its inherent hate toward the womankind, something you gloss over but cannot eradicate within.
somehow the english translation of the book decides to take a different title: the girl with the dragon tattoo, and the purpose is obvious, just to downplay its criticism toward the faults of information econoy, global finance and the failure of welfare state in advanced country like sweden. all these are just so jarringly negative! and real! (unpleasant)..thus the anglo-saxons decide to redeem a positivity by changing the entire focus on the woman, purposely interpreting it through a feminist perspective with slogan like YOU CAN DO IT (on your own while we leave you all alone to die or get f**ked if you don’t help yourself)! the best solution is to turn lisabeth salander into a sex symbol to be ripped off by female and male audience all together! after all, it’s the time of neoliberalism (=laisser faire without rules..rich richer, freer; poor poorer, less freer). and it is the best way to commercialize this novel of steig larsson’s. it gives women a falsified sense of emancipation that they could do ANYTHING.
both the swedish original and the american remake concentrate on lisabeth salander’s sex appeal. the biggest difference is: noomi rapace is the comparatively more queer lisabeth (raw and “handsome”) while rooney mara is the straight icy queen who occassionally trespasses into the queer domain (she has a self-assured elegance in her voice, and more curveous). the subversion of the swedish original is the gender-reversal while the american one plays it safe while colorizing with kaleiscopic visuals and vibrant wisecrackers.
in the original novel, lisabeth is more like:
her physical features would be “pale and anorexic” with “hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows.” Also, “she had a wasp tattoo about an inch long on her neck” and she dyed her hair “raven black.” She also looks “almost Asian” due to her high cheekbones with her “extreme slenderness,” and she occasionally wear black lipstick (41).
as for her sexual orientation:
“Salander – unlike – Mimmi(her regular girlfriend) – had never thought of herself as a lesbian. She had never brooded over whether she was straight, gay or, or even bisexual. If she had to choose, she preferred guys – they were in the lead, statistically speaking. She did not give a damn about labels, did not see that it was anyone else’s business whom she spent her nights with” (Larsson 357).
in other words, she’s like an apparition with a shapeless body, asianistic features and she does prefer man. the only reason she seeks woman for sex, because woman possesses no menace to her! i don’t regard her as a sex symbol if she’s portrayed exactly by the book. the focus is on the aspect of social filth presented through severe misogyny, and the only way to lighten it is to eroticize lisabeth salander. so everyone could be happy.
of course, the title sequence featuring petroleum figure is amazing, and it does render the feeling of this decade, each human become a piece of meat to be wrecked by international money-exchange intensified through the monopoly of petroleum while they indulge in extremified sex and mayhem. (over-interpretion? i guess so. ha.)