Thursday, September 23, 2010

The girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Machete

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The titles above are the pictures you'll see on the right hand side of this blog under What I'm reading and what I saw last.

I said I'll be reviewing these once in a while. Let me start with the book.

The girl with the dragon tattoo. From the Publishers Weekly;

Cases rarely come much colder than the decades-old disappearance of teen heiress Harriet Vanger from her family's remote island retreat north of Stockholm, nor do fiction debuts hotter than this European bestseller by muckraking Swedish journalist Larsson. At once a strikingly original thriller and a vivisection of Sweden's dirty not-so-little secrets (as suggested by its original title, Men Who Hate Women), this first of a trilogy introduces a provocatively odd couple: disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist, freshly sentenced to jail for libeling a shady businessman, and the multipierced and tattooed Lisbeth Salander, a feral but vulnerable superhacker. Hired by octogenarian industrialist Henrik Vanger, who wants to find out what happened to his beloved great-niece before he dies, the duo gradually uncover a festering morass of familial corruption—at the same time, Larsson skillfully bares some of the similar horrors that have left Salander such a marked woman. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after handing in the manuscripts for what will be his legacy. 

The book is a 600 page thriller and it took me roughly a week to read at about an hour daily for the first three days. By the second half of the book, it was more difficult to put down. Last night, I stayed up till almost 1am to finish it. It was quite gripping. I look forward to reading the other books of the trilogy and it's a big pity the author is dead. He achieved a great feat in story telling in the book.

The title character is Lisbeth Salander and has several tattoos including a dragon and a butterfly. Contradictory it seems but not so much. She is a well-rounded character. She is small (4"11) and so comes across as a victim but has a strong core that helps her withstand a society she does not understand. She has a bit of Aspergers with a photographic memory thrown in and is a gifted computer hacker. Funny, I wanted to be a hacker at one point too, but my detective skills as a teenager stopped at snooping through my siblings love letters, lol.

Anyway, I have so much in common with Lisbeth that I'll soon be getting my tattoo too. I've been talking about it for too long. Time for action.

Finally Machete. I give it a 3 stars out of five. Lots of action, blood and some gore. Guess the length of the human intestine? You'll find out in the movie. If you're a fan of Quentin Tarantino, which I am, you'll definitely love this one. It was done by Rodriguez who is a sidekick of Tarantino and usually has most of his stories set in Mexico or starring Mexican characters. Remember El Mariachi, Desperado, Once upon a time in Mexico, Spy Kids? According to Rodriguez on wikipedia,

the origins of the film go back to Desperado. He says, "When I met Danny, I said, 'This guy should be like the Mexican Jean-Claude Van Damme or Charles Bronson, putting out a movie every year and his name should be Machete.' So I decided to do that way back when, never got around to it until finally now. So now, of course, I want to keep going and do a feature."[13] In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Rodriguez said that he wrote the screenplay back in 1993 when he cast Trejo in Desperado. "So I wrote him this idea of a federale from Mexico who gets hired to do hatchet jobs in the U.S. I had heard sometimes FBI or DEA have a really tough job that they don't want to get their own agents killed on, they'll hire an agent from Mexico to come do the job for $25,000. I thought, "That's Machete.