Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
Synopsis: Based on the first book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, this follows the story of a disgraced journalist trying to solve a mystery of the disappearance of a sixteen year old girl that occurred forty years earlier. He receives unexpected help from a young female hacker.
A review by Film Nerd.
A brief preface to this review. I have not yet read any of the Millennium trilogy, so I came into watching this movie completely blind. As such, this review cannot address the potential of disappointed expectations that may arise from loving the source material. If the trend of a book far surpassing the movie which was based on it holds true though, I do know which books I will next be downloading to my Kobo eReader.
This is not always an easy film to watch. It does not shy from some of the darker sides of humanity. Greed, disloyalty, and even rape are all to regular occurrences in this world. It is true very little of this violence has been shown on-screen. I have seen many more graphic rape scenes, in fact I always think back to the film Irreversible, in which Monica Bellucci is raped in an underpass, with the scene lasting almost 10 minutes. What we see here is much shorter, and much less shown on-screen, yet just as uncomfortable to watch. Which I guess is kind of the point. The film does not shy from the fact that the victim will always be just that, a victim with lasting scars, despite the fact that one character got some delicious revenge. That said, that revenge does help lift the film out of some of those dark areas.
There is much more to lift it though. The mystery of the disappearing girl is filled with many twist and turns, and is intriguing from start to finish. The pacing can at times be slow, but as your mind is always turning over the significance of the latest clue, there is no sense of lag. I actually was unaware to a large degree of the 2.5 hour running time. Add to this mix the fascinating relationship between the two leads. Michael Nyqvist plays Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist wrongfully convicted for fabricating evidence. He is charged by the missing girl’s uncle to solve the mystery in the 6 months prior to the time he is to serve his sentence. The case puts him in the path of Rapace’s Lisbeth Salander, the titular girl with the dragon tattoo. Her history prior to the events of the film are only hinted at, but if one thing is clear, she has had a troubled past, and has had to fence herself off from her emotions in an effort to compensate. As it turns out, their differences complement each other, each holding the key to solving different parts of the puzzle.
I reiterate that this review is of the film alone, so as such I do not direct my recommendations to fans of the novels. I will say, however, if this film has failed the novel at all, then I can’t wait to get reading. As it is, the sequel The Girl who Played with Fire has already been in Australian cinemas, so I cannot wait for the Blu-Ray release!
5 stars (out of a possible 5)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on IMDB
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Rotten Tomatoes