2000's, Crime, Foreign Language Film, Lisbeth Salander, Michael Nyqvist, Millenium Trilogy, Noomi Rapace, Stieg Larsson, Sweden, The girl with the dragon tattoo, Thriller
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Niels Arden Oplev
- Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist
- Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander
- Sven-Bertil Taube as Henrik Vanger
- Peter Haber as Martin Vanger
- Peter Andersson as Nils Bjurman
Based on the first part of a record shattering book trilogy written by the late Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a brutal, bleak and brilliant Swedish thriller with twists and turns galore and an original heroine to boot. Not a film for the faint of heart, mainly because of its violent content but still a thrilling and compulsive watch.
The plot of the film follows disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is due to serve time in prison for his part in a libel case. Around this time, he is called up by the powerful Henrik Vanger to investigate a particularly personal case. The case is about the disappearance of his great-niece Harriett 40 years prior, Vanger has a suspicion that one of his close but extremely dysfunctional family may have murdered the woman. Blomkvist is further aided in his puzzling quest for answers by Lisbeth Salander(the eponymous girl with the dragon tattoo), an enigmatic, computer hacking goth with a violent past involving time in a mental ward and being put into foster care. Between the two of them, they attempt to uncover a most curious and murky case with many twists and turns along the way.
One thing that struck me when watching the film was its pace. For a thriller, it unravels at a slow, thoughtful pace but is all the more effective as we discover the many secrets of the case at the same time as Blomkvist and Salander. The structure works when the two are sifting through the case at their own time, each unearthing something useful or shocking before they eventually meet in person.The visual look of the film is another interesting part of the whole piece, the many cross cuts between the genius Lisbeth Salander hacking a computer shown with Blomkvist investigating adding a distinctive flair to the film and giving it a technological, almost cyber punk edge. The main character of Lisbeth fixes the attention throughout the film as a result of Rapace’s outstanding performance. She is a startlingly original heroine who is both highly clever, damaged and kick ass. Noomi Rapace captures the tough, intelligent side of her as well as showing an underlying vulnerability and rage within this mysterious young woman. Even when she is not speaking her intense presence oozes through, we are never really sure what she is thinking or what she will do in a certain situation. She has great chemistry with Nyqvist who is also fine as the crusading and inquisitive journalist.
As I have mentioned earlier, the film won’t appeal to everyone because of its violent and graphic content. There are many scenes that are hard to watch, because of the grisly theme of female murder and the horrendous abuse inflicted upon Lisbeth by her sadistic guardian . This is clearly a movie that is not for the faint-hearted, so be warned before viewing it. Also, even though some may shy away from the long running time, once the suspense and shocks kick in you won’t be able to drag your eyes away from the screen. Once the film hits its stride, it grips like a vice and remains a compelling watch until the end.