Boys had all the fun. I didn't understand why they got to eat more, and talk louder, and be left alone. In my fantasies I was the hard-riding hero, not the swooning dame. At some unremembered threshold age, quietly taken aside, I was sent back out scowling with a vest on, while they got to tussle with their chests bare to the lawn, rubbing grass streaks down their ribs like itchy dogs. Sitting in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, fidgeting in my Spitalfields lace and twisting my over-long split ends, my inner crop-haired and dress-averse tomboy thought that Noomi Rapace looked like a lot of fun indeed.
Beside her snarling, boot polish-haired, fag-fingered Lisbeth Salander, all compact muscle and clenched jaw, Michael Nyqvist as the supposed lead Mikael Blomkvist comes across as a flabby, flailing Swedish posset, his attempts at mysterious interiority actually translating as mundane middle-aged impotence. Someone dip that girl in Gaultier and throw her at some awards.
The Swedish title of Stieg Larsson's book may be Men Who Hate Women, but Niels Arden Oplev's film definitely comes down on the side of the kvinnor. I haven't had a girl crush like this since the curly-haired sixth-former who played Don José in the school production of Carmen (excepting, perhaps, Jolie in Hackers, a direct predecessor of Rapace's damaged goth-punk tech-nomad).
With Rapace as Lisbeth - a classic hardbodied comic book heroine - I was reminded that Larsson's original text, with its irresistible stock characters, epic villains, relentless hardcore action, and snow-washed, sepia Swedish terrain, had indeed struck me as a graphic novel dying to escape the constraints of the logocentric page.
It all made me want to head north east. A girl could really brew some aesthetically pleasing anger in that freezing dolourscape, the pale sky scraped by scrawny pines, the lakes blankly unpicturesque, the language a fabulously abrasive arsenal of spiky and sloshy additions to simple words.
It also made me spend an hour in All Saints trying on a lot of black. Which inevitably, frustratingly, made me look more Soho Media Miserablist than Nail-Hard Cybersleuth.
I'm craving comics right now (and I can't stop talking about them). While I book tickets for Kick-Ass and Jonah Hex, I'd welcome any reading tips for something heavy on the emotion, aesthetics and atmosphere; light on the robotic eye-gouging; and preferably starring angry, lizard-adorned Scandinavian broads...