Designer living – and dying: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I eventually went to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Columbia Pictures’ latest adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s literary blockbuster. I cannot comment on how closely the film follows the book, which has sold 50 milion copies in 46 countries, as I have not read it, but as readers of this blog will be aware, I am fascinated by Scandinavia and Larsson’s horrific and compelling – albeit slightly predictable – plot line certainly held my attention effectively for nearly two and a half hours, even though I had worked out whodunnit about halfway through.

A stellar cast – featuring Rooney Mara as  disturbed and tortured punk-goth anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craig as disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist – did an excellent job portraying Larsson’s dark and damaged characters. As many have pointed out, the Swedish accents – especially Craig’s – were inconsistent and not always accurate. As someone who has visited Sweden several times and heard a lot of ‘Swinglish’ I agree, although I did not find this distracting. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been reviewed many times, so I won’t rehearse the story, and I can only recommend it. I am also interested in seeing the original Swedish film interpretation, as Sweden’s landscape and history are intrinsic to the plot and the atmosphere.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is visually spectacular throughout, from the opening sequence to Karen O, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross’ stunning cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to the final shots of Stockholm’s streets at night.

Swedish design was an important part of the setting, notably the use of monochrome and minimalism as well as the more traditional elements – the beautiful simple lines that are set off so well by Sweden’s bleak, elegant landscape, which itself turns monochrome in the winter.

It seemed appropriate to watch a designer film in a designer cinema.The Screen on the Green in Islington is a truly elegant cinematic experience.

There is a trend in London for cinemas with sofas and bars (I love this) and this is one of the best. There are a lot of sofas, all with footstools as well, so it feels like a massive living room. There is bar service, so your drinks and snacks are delivered to you as you relax on the sofa (or in my case scuffle through my oversized handbag searching for my specs!). It’s worth booking online as you can choose whether to go for a sofa in the middle of the room, which I like as you get the most accurate projection of the film, or one at the side which would feel more cosy and intimate for a special date.

Finally, one thing that struck me afterwards – I hope it isn’t a spoiler and I guess this observation is a consequence of mixing wine and cinema – is how much work must go into creating a designer torture chamber. Last year I had some renovation works done to my house and recall having to set out some fairly precise instructions for the builders. Imagine having to go through this process for a torture chamber – a secret remote-controlled entrance, effective soundproofing, floor and wall tiles you can hose down easily, grout that doesn’t get stained, the positioning of the gas vents in the ceiling, a remote-controlled electric winch that can hold a person’s weight, a bespoke cabinet for ‘special’ equipment… the list would be endless. And imagine your average builder’s reaction to these bizarre and sinister requests – worse, getting some quotes in might just alert people to the fact that things in this house could get out of hand, making the mystery a lot easier to solve. Perhaps there are ‘special’ builders. Or do designer serial killers need to be really, really good at DIY?



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