"Dragon Tattoo" film paints Sweden in darkest shades

Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:36am EST
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By Daniel Dickson

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Violence, a sexually abused heroine and the forbidding wintry landscape of director David Fincher's new "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" film may alter any pre-conceived notions of Sweden as a socialist paradise.

Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, who plays the corporate executive of a family firm with a terrible secret, said that although the film explores a very fictional dark side of society its portrayal of feminine strength was particularly Swedish.

"Such a strong female hero as we have in this film and such a soft male hero as we have in this film, I think that is typical Swedish," he told reporters when he hit the red carpet for the Stockholm premiere of the Hollywood version of Swedish author Stieg Larsson's best-selling thriller.

Sweden is known for its cradle-to-grave welfare system and IKEA department stores. The film and books paint another picture, more in tune with its bleak and cold winters and a dark side found in a number of Swedish crime novels that have taken the publishing world by storm in the last decade.

Skarsgard said foreigners in general did not know much about the small Scandinavian country and hoped that Sweden would not be too associated with the crime wave genre that has put Swedish Noir at the top of the modern world's literary map.

"I hope they don't think that the way Sweden is portrayed in those books and films is the way Sweden is, because it is still a very peaceful and lovely and very nice country to live in," he said.

The film received solid early reviews [ID:nN1E7BC0JM] and critics especially praised Rooney Mara's appearance as the fearless sexual abuse survivor and punkish computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Mara said it was essential that much of the film was made in Sweden.

"Some people questioned why we came to Sweden to make the film and why we did not just make our American version in America but I don't think you can really tell the story without telling it in Sweden. I think it is a very Swedish story, I think all the characters are very Swedish," she said.   Continued...

<p>Actress Rooney Mara poses during a press meeting in Stockholm, November 21, 2011. REUTERS/Scanpix/Claudio Bresciani</p>