Män som hatar kvinnor
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FAQ for
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) More at IMDbPro »Män som hatar kvinnor (original title)

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo can be found here.

Millennium magazine journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is hired by wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, to write his memoirs but who really wants Mikael to investigate the murder of his niece Harriet who disappeared some 40 years ago. With the help of an antisocial, punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a young woman with a dragon tattoo on her back, a checkered childhood and an abusive court-appointed guardian named Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson), the pair uncover a series of gruesome murders that eventually puts their own lives in danger.

The movie is based on Mn som hatar kvinnor (English: Men Who Hate Women; published in English as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) (2005), a crime novel by the Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson [1954-2004]. It is the first of his Millennium trilogy, followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire (Swedish: Flickan som lekte med elden) (2006) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Swedish: Luftslottet som sprngdes) (2007). The movie version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009). There is an English language adaptation of the novel, also titled The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Whether or not to read a novel before seeing a movie (or vice versa) is always a personal call on the part of each viewer. However, the majority of viewers who have done both agree that the movie should be seen first. The book is more complicated and contains other characters not found in the movie. Reading the book after seeing the movie helps to fill in the details. Many of those who first tried reading the book sometimes ended up putting it down because the story was too slow-moving in the beginning.

Those who have seen it both ways vote for the subtitled version. Listening to the actors' real voices and feeling their emotions is considered superior to dubbing by voices that don't match or seem to be arising from a sound room. Another complaint about the dubbed version is that it does not correspond well with the subtitled version. The dubbed version, however, is preferred by those who want to pay attention to more of the cinematic details.

Journalist, watchdog, and publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, Mikael Blomkvist is indicted for printing a libelous expos about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerstrm (Stefan Sauk), accusing him of gun-running and other serious felonies. Blomkvist is subsequently found guilty and sentenced to spend three months in prison and to pay a fine of 150,000 kronor. What happened was that Wennerstrm found out about the expose and leaked false information that Blomkvist didn't have time to verify (or was falsely verified) before publication. This new information was easily proven false by Wennerstrm, thereby discrediting the truth from the original story.

At 2012 exchange rates, 150,000 SEK would be the equivalent of 24,548 USD, 17,112 EUR, and 13,905 GBP sterling.

There are a lot of Vangers to keep track of in the movie; even more in the novel. The Vangers to pay attention to in the movie are the three Vanger brothers Henrik (Sven-Bertil Taube) (former CEO of Vanger Enterprises), Gottfried (deceased), and Harald (Gösta Bredefeldt) (the one who threatens Blomkvist with a shotgun). Henrik had no children. Martin Vanger (Peter Haber) (current CEO of Vanger) and Harriet Vanger (missing, presumed dead) are Gottfriend's children. Cecilia (Marika Lagercrantz) and Anita (deceased) are the daughters of Harald.

Hedestad (Hede City) and Hedeby (Hede Village) Island are both fictitious places, invented for Larsson's novel. They are described as being along the east coast of Sweden, about three hours north of Stockholm, a little more than an hour north of Gvle. The original novel (in Swedish) featured maps of Hedeby Island, but they were left out of the translated editions. Other places mentioned in the movie, such as Stockholm, Gvle, Vilhelmina, Uppsala, Norsj, Dalarna (the Dales), Ange, and Karlstad, can be located on the given map.

Henrik Vanger commissioned Milton Security to do a comprehensive investigation into Mikael's background, because he wanted to hire Mikael to investigate the disappearance and probable murder of his niece Harriet. Being the best researcher employed by Milton, Lisbeth was assigned to the job.

After a few violent incidents (of which she was cleared of criminal conduct), it was petitioned that she be placed in an asylum. She was defended by the person who became her original guardian. The judge ruled that she could remain independent under his care. When her first guardian suffers a stroke, she is placed under the care of a new guardian, Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson), who is much stricter about letting her control her own money. Further details of her placement in the asylum are provided in The Girl Who Played with Fire.

In the movie, it said, "I am a sadistic pig and a rapist." In the novel, it was slightly longer and read, "I'm a sadistic pig, a pervert and a rapist."

When he received an email from someone named "Wasp" with information about the numbers in Harriet's diary, numbers that only Mikail had access to, he realized that someone had hacked into his computer. He asked Henrik's lawyer Dirch Frode (Ingvar Hirdwall) whether he might know who could have done it. Remembering that Lisbeth Salander was the researcher assigned to the investigation of Mikael's background, Frode was able to put 2 and 2 together.

On the photos taken by the photographer who covered the event, he reads a sign in the window of the woman's automobile that says "Norsj Snickeri" ("Norsj Carpenters"). Given that lead, he is able to track down the woman who still lives in Norsj .

According to the novel, the character of Mikael Blomkvist is 42 years old, born 18 January 1960 (which sets this story in 2002); the actor who plays him was 48 at the time. The character of Lisbeth Salander is 24 years old; the actress who played her was 29 at the time.

Many viewers note that Harriet could have stopped Martin from murdering a number of women if she had only come forward. Lisbeth herself faults Harriet for this in the novel. The novel is much more explicit in that Harriet did not know that her brother was a serial killer. She knew her father was, but she believed that her brother had only raped her. She did not know about any of his murders until contacted by Blomkvist. As to why Harriet did not come forward sooner and implicate Martin as an incestuous rapist, there are several reasons. First is that victims of sexual abuse like this often vastly inflate the power of their abusers. Harriet may have been genuinely afraid of what Martin might do to her if she came forward, particularly after he assumed control of the family company. Also, abuse victims are often afraid of the emotional turmoil that their revelation might cause among their friends and family. Harriet may have feared that the revelation of the abuse would have torn the family apart as people took sides either with her or with Martin. Finally, the book is much more explicit about the fact that Harriet is worried about her legal and moral culpability in her father's death, something which would be exposed if she came forward.

After finding out that Harriet moved to Australia in 1966 and is living under the assumed name of her cousin Anita, Mikael flies to Australia and tracks her down. She returns with him to Sweden and is re-united with her Uncle Henrik. She explains how Gottfried (her father) and Martin (her brother) began raping her when she was 14. One day she had enough. She drowned her father and made it look like an accident, and Martin was sent away to a boarding school in Uppsala. When she saw him again at the Children's Day parade, she was terrified that the abuse would begin again, so she enlisted Anita's help to flee the country. She tells Henrik that the framed flowers, which he thought were being sent by her killer, were actually sent by her as a sign that she was still alive. "If you hadn't sent them, you wouldn't be sitting here now", Henrik lovingly replies. His job finished, Mikael returns to Stockholm to serve out his sentence. A month-and-a-half into it, he is visited by Lisbeth, who gives him a bunch of documents providing proof of Wennerstrm's fraudulent activities. He writes another expos, exonerates himself, and Wennerstrm winds up committing suicide. As part of the investigation into Wennerstrm's death, Mikael learns that several million kronor have been withdrawn from Wennerstrm's account by an unidentified female in the Cayman Islands. Zooming on the woman, Mikael immediately sees that it is the black-haired Lisbeth wearing a blonde wig. In the final scene, Lisbeth, still wearing a blonde wig, is seen walking down a palm-lined sidewalk next to a seashore.

The film is largely faithful to the novel. The differences come mainly from truncating certain plotlines in order to save time. For example, the Wennerstrm plotline is far more extensive in the novel, and the film also glosses over Mikael's relationship with his co-publisher Erika Berger and completely eliminates his relationship with Cecelia Vanger. The movie changes the order and attribution of some of the discoveries in the case. For example, in the novel, it is Mikael who discovers the meaning of the notations in Harriet's diary after a suggestion from his daughter; in the film, it is Lisbeth who figures it out. There is a significant difference surrounding the reason for Mikael being contracted by Henrik. In the novel, Mikael is officially writing Henrik's biography rather than leading an investigation. This is designed not to arouse suspicions, but his real task is guessed by many of the characters. Also significant in the book is that Henrik promises Mikael information that will lead him to bring down Wennerstrm, but this will only be given once Mikael completes his investigation, which turns out to be largely a bluff. In both the novel and the film, it is Lisbeth that discovers the incriminating evidence on Wennerstrm. The film doesn't explain her reasoning for going after Wennerstrm other than to help Mikael. In the book, Lisbeth was initially hired by Vanger to dig into the Wennerstrm affair only to be told to stop once Mikael agrees to work for Henrik. In the novel, Lisbeth hacks in and moves money around in order to lead Wennerstrm to be executed by his mob connections; the film suggests that Wennerstrm commits suicide. In the book, Lisbeth moves several billion kronor into accounts of various fictitious companies she has set up and has access too, while in the movie it only says they can't account for several million. The final part of the film suggests that the murders are revealed to the police. In the novel, this doesn't happen and, in fact, the Vanger family agrees to cover this up for the sake of the family name, which angers Mikael who feels pressure not to expose the fact that Martin was a serial killer which makes him feel compromised as a journalist. In the book Martin kills himself by driving into a lorry(truck) rather than it being an accident. Other minor changes are made, such as Henrik joining the board of Millennium magazine in the book but not in the film.

Between the years 2009 and 2010, the trilogy was made into three movies. It is a Swedish-Danish-German co-production and all the actors speak Swedish. Intentionally it was planned to become a 6-episode TV miniseries (2×90 minutes per book) but then it was decided to release all three parts in the theatres in a shorter version. Even though the movies all have a run time of more than 2 hours, every movie misses about 30 minutes of footage that didn't make it into the movie but would have been shown on TV. As early as June 2010, these longer TV versions were aired on Swedish television, and the TV versions have been released on DVD in the Netherlands (with a little label on the cover that reads "Extended Edition") as well. Because of the length, the movie was split in half and put on two DVDs. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.


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