Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Running Time: 2 hours, 32 minutes
Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is a wrongfully disgraced journalist waiting to serve a jail sentence for inadvertently committing libel. In the meantime, he is hired by a wealthy man named Henrik Vagner (Sven-Bertil Taube), who wants him to investigate the disappearance of his daughter who vanished 40 years earlier. Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is an ex-con and hacker who works for a security firm that was hired by Vagner to do a background on Blomkvist. Out of a strange obsession, she keeps tracking Mikael after her job is done and is intrigued by his case. Lisbeth gives him some info that helps Mikael make the first break in the case in 40 years. Mikael tracks down Lisbeth and asks for her help in solving the mystery of what happened to Vagner's daughter.
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is the first in a series of very popular dark, dramatic, crime thriller mystery book-to-movie adaptations out of Sweden. Noomi Rapace plays the title character, the girl with the dragon tattoo herself, named Lisbeth Salander. She is an ex-con who is on probation. She gets work as a hacker doing background checks for a security company. She needs a new computer, but because of the laws in Sweden, she doesn't have access to her own money and has to ask her probation officer to get it for her. Her probation officer uses this power to blackmail Lisbeth for sexual favors. This leads to a very uncomfortable scene that is difficult to watch, though Lisbeth does eventually get her revenge, which no matter how brutal is all too sweet. During one of her hacking jobs, she becomes intrigued by a case that disgraced former reporter Mikael Blomkvist, played by Michael Nyqvist, is working on. It's a 40-year-old murder case, and she has made the first break in the case since the victim went missing. Mikael eventually tracks down Lisbeth and asks for her help. Lisbeth agrees to help him out and they become partners. They also grow closer and begin a physical relationship with one another. There are people out there that don't want them looking into this case as it is connected to a much larger one that may have been covered up. The more information they uncover, the more danger they find themselves in as facts get uncovered and the truth slowly surfaces.
This is an intense film, a slow-burning thriller from start to finish. We as the audience are able to get fully enthralled in the story and the mystery of this murder case. It starts to branch out far beyond what was started and there are many moving parts to the mystery of it all. All the prime suspects are in the very large, very wealthy family who hired Mikael in the first place, so we never quite know who we should and shouldn't trust since it is very obvious this family has a lot of skeletons they don't want made public. Noomi Rapace does an excellent job as Lisbeth Salander. She can be cold and calculating, tough as nails, and also emotionally fragile. Mikael Blomkvist is also great as Michael Nyqvist, and the two have wonderful interactions together. Together, they must piece together a compelling, interesting puzzle wrought with intrigue, seediness, and shadiness. Though the plot of this film is laid out, there is plenty of mystery to go around. As a whole, the film can often be quite graphic, and as we mentioned above, there's a certain instance where even the toughest viewers will be appalled by what they're watching. This, combined with its length and the fact that is foreign, will deter many viewers in favor of the American remake. If you can get past these few things, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is an suspenseful, entertaining, exhilarating ride and is definitely worth a watch, especially if you are/were fans of the book series.
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!