User ReviewsAdd a Review
The films story is very exciting and puzzling (for those that haven't read the book) and the pace is steady with some really tense situations. The investigation part of the story is excellent. Although it is 2.5 hours long it is never boring.
The soundtrack was also very fitting and helped to set the mood of the film. This is far above any other Scandinavian thriller production, and I look forward to the rest of the films/series.
I recommend it to anyone!
I guess if you want to be overly critical you could punch a hole or two here or there, but I think this story comes off so most all viewers will ignore any inconsistencies in favor of the mysterious pieces which, eventually, add up, but not too fast keeping the viewer invested and hoping to figure out how it may all end.
Though graphic at times, it isn't "porn-horror", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a dark story where the unsettling pieces fit. I am fairly certain it will not be released in the US, but if you can see it do so as it is a well crafted and executed drama.
Indeed, I can't say whether the movie proves adherence to the novel, which is something by the way difficult, considering the length of the book, however, I can say that the product is a well-crafted piece of cinema, which leaves also interesting food for thought. Used as we are, as southern Europeans, to see at Northern, and mainly Scandinavian countries, as models of democracy, economic progress and social welfare, it's quite surprising to see a modern Sweden stained by corruption and unscrupulous tycoons. Moreover, it is quite upsetting to get to know how Nazi extremist and insane ideas were rooted not so much in the history of the country, but in the conscience of people, in this case of a powerful and wealthy family, where the hatred towards the Jews has mixed with the hatred towards women, turning the lives of whole generations into a hell of ferocious violence and horror.
As far as the thriller story, it's engaging, but carried on very carefully, every aspect being under control, with flashbacks constantly reassuring us about aspects we have already perceived, without moving a little apart from a well consolidated stylistic model of this kind of movie genre. Sometimes a little slow, sometimes too indulging in violent scenes, but with a strong directing consciousness supporting it. Convincing and really good the performances offered by the whole cast, unknown to the great public, but I would underline the actress playing Lisbeth as really outstanding and upsetting in her mental and emotional distress. On the whole, it's not a masterpiece, but a good and well made movie.
Niels Arden Oplevs Män som hatar kvinnor is based on the first of Stieg Larssons three bestselling novels, meaning of course that it is basically guaranteed large box office numbers but the expectations will probably match those numbers. Weather the film manages to live up to these expectations I cannot say seeing as I am one of the probably only eight people who has not read Stieg Larssons books. But as a piece of cinema, completely removed from its literary origins, it definitely leaves an impression!
The music mentioned above, written by Peter Fuchs, is the first thing to register in the mind as something interesting Something that make everything feel very serious. The impending-doom-score composed by Howard Shore, for David Finchers Se7en, springs to mind and this only a few seconds into the film.
The cold, hard, uncomfortable reality where the movie takes place is populated by a highly recognizable legion of people straight out of Swedens acting elite (Gösta Bredenfeldt, Lena Endre, Ewa Fröling, Björn Granath, Peter Haber och Marika Lagerkrantz to mention a few) and they all seem to have been so thrilled to be a part of this project that they almost as one has taken their characters a step back, allowing the spotlight to be shone on the two main characters, who also get to drive the story forward; the reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Mikael Nyqvist), who is digging through a 40 year old murder case involving a well known corporation family with Nazi connections, and the 24 year old computer hacker EMO Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) that every day hacks Blomkvists hard drive, captivated by the puzzling evidence (or lack thereof).
Nyqvist gets the job done playing what is basically the lesser of the two parts. You instinctively feel sympathy for him, and sympathizes with him even in his very first scene, in which his character is convicted of slander, and sentenced to prison.
But when the lights come back on in the theatre, and you gather up your half eaten box of popcorn and your coat, it's not Mikael Nyqvists understated but persistent reporter you will remember most it's Noomi Rapaces leather-and-stud clad, tattooed, pierced, heavy makeup wearing biker chick, Lisbeth Salander.
Weighted by old wrongdoings as well as new ones, Lisbeth is covered in emotional scars, making her a very interesting character that easily could have been a silly rehash, a Gunvald Larsson in leather. But Noomi Rapace bases Lisbeth in real emotions rather than clichés and hammy over acting. You can tell that there is a real person behind that steely gazed, unyielding face, something that make those parts of the movie, where we get to come with her through what must be some of Swedish cinemas most horrendous scenes, feel that much more awful. You almost can't help looking away, as she is abused over and over again
The relationship between Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander is the only part where I felt the movie rushed things just a tad. But this is only a mild piece of criticism, as the lack of insight leaves the audience feeling that they, just like the character Mikael Blomkvist, don't know what to make of Lisbeht Salander.
Besides the two leads, I want to single out Peter Haber, who really got to show off his skills! He is obviously good for more than just playing the silly father of Sune or the annoyingly correct police Martin Beck.
I have, like I mentioned earlier, not read the novels by Stieg Larsson, and I have an automatic aversion towards Swedish cinema; which I usually find stiff, with acting taken straight out of the latest grocery store commercials. In other words, Swedish film has its work cut out trying to sell me anything. But, and I am not ashamed to admit this, I'm gonna go ahead and BUY!!!
In the narrow little world that is Swedish cinema there is a lot that one could or even should avoid. But this movie is not something to be ignored! So leave the kids at home (this is NOT a very pleasant film) and head for your nearest multiplex to take in of the most thrilling Swedish films in a very long time!
An aging corporate executive, Henrik Vanger, employs Blomkvist to solve the puzzle of his missing niece - A girl who mysteriously disappeared 40 years earlier. It has become an obsession to this man to shed some light on his missing niece's fate, and he is desperate to have closure before it's his own time to pass. Over the years 82 year old Henrik Vanger has been gathering a substantial amount of hints and clues, but he was never able to put the pieces together. Acclaimed journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired for his researching skills, following a thorough background check. Blomkvist's recent committal order doesn't discourage Vanger. He shows no interest for compromise in getting the right man for the job.
Eventually Blomkvist teams up with secluded computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Their investigation unfolds a complex set of clues leading to a string of morbid sadistic murders spanning decades. Pieces of the puzzle slowly start falling into place, as inevitable confrontation with the hidden villain draws closer. Alongside this main plot line, both of our main characters have to deal with personal problems that act as obstacles for the main chase and help us understand our main characters.
When I read "Män som hatar kvinnor" a few years back, I told my friends: "This would make a great movie". It sure does. "Män som hatar kvinnor" is an ambitious project. Casting (character and location alike), adapting the book to script and production seem to set new standards for Scandinavian movie making. It has an international feel and does the book great justice. Key scenes from the book are flawlessly executed and the characters are captured very convincingly. Fans of the book shouldn't be disappointed. Almost three hours running time allows great depth and detail, but even at this length some plot lines have been left out. This does not hurt the overall feel though. It is still a coherent movie focusing on the main plot line. Avid fans can turn to the text version for further explanations, and still be intrigued.
The Lisbeth Salander character is an inventive take on a heroine. She is a believable and obvious contrast to the sadistic, women degrading evildoers. This 90 pound female hacker is depicted as being the craftier, stronger and more energetic of our heroic duo. This does however hurt Blomkvists character a bit, leaving him seemingly not too bright and kind of helpless. I DO like a female heroine though, which is a welcome twist to the classic detective genre. The novels give Blomkvist a bit more room to shine on his own, which is the only thing I'm missing in the movie.
Great performances all around. Most reviews will obviously comment on Noomi Rapaces outstanding performance as Lisbeth Salander and put her on a well deserved pedestal. I'm going to point the attention to Sven-Bertil Taube (Henrik Vanger) and Peter Haber (Martin Vanger) who both do great jobs as supporting actors.
While thrillers are mostly considered TV material and this one might borderline on that fine edge, it still deserves to be seen on the big screen. The actors (mostly unrecognizable to the worldwide audience) are really good. The editing and pacing is great and it's really a great suspense movie. A little thriller that dares to go to dark places.
I ended up getting a Dubbed version and I know a lot can be lost in translation that way but I loved it. It definitely has a "girl power" feel to it but it is very well done. The acting is excellent the storyline is excellent and its well written.
One thing I really loved was its not your typical "American" , which its not, suspense/detective movie. A lot of these are clues and discoveries that come out of nowhere and don't make a lot of sense. This movie I found was very realistic in the way it was written and was done the way real people would do it. It didn't have that feeling of disconnection with the characters being so much more intelligent and magical when it came to the clues.
Anyway I enjoyed it so much Im going to give the other movies a shot with the same female character.
I highly recommend this but please be aware, there is A lot of "violation" if you will. Not for sensitive viewers.
What is beautiful about this film is the simplicity of how it was made without it appearing cheap. It is proof that the lack of special effects doesn't make a film dull. In fact, it only makes other aspects shine. The movie is dialogue-driven, and a lot of things are explained through the conversations. It is quite unfortunate that I do not understand Swedish (and I had to use the subtitles while watching it) because I feel it would have been a better experience if I did.
Of course, behind these dialogues are the two leads Blomkvist and Salander. A recipe for a good movie is comprised of a compelling story, characters viewers can sympathize with and care about, and the interactions among these characters. For the most part, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is able to accomplish these things. Because of the film, I now understand why Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows) has suddenly been propelled to the spotlight. Indeed, her performance as Lisbeth Salander is incredible. The late Stieg Larsson would have been proud of her interpretation of his title character. Salander is arguably the most unique female protagonist the industry has seen for a long time. From her looks to her personality, we see her as complex yet somebody we can understand, talented and so sure of herself and yet at the same time so awkward. Michael Nyqvist portrays Mikael Blomkvist with an air of confidence and authority that is just fitting for the character. We can understand why Salander, not big on trust, eventually warms up to him. If Salander is the loose cannon, then he is the straight arrow that holds the film together.
As a fan of the book, I believe this adaptation was able to give sufficient justice. Like in all adaptations, many elements of the story were changed. However, most of these changes were done for a smoother flow and for a more viewer-friendly experience.
Later this year, David Fincher will be making a Hollywood version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Even with stars Daniel Craig and Robin Wright attached to the project, it must pack a wallop so they can surpass the high standard that this Swedish production has set. Truly, this film has made me want to venture more into European cinema and find all the wonders it has to offer.
The Verdict: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a dark, gritty, excellently-done crime drama that others will try to emulate but probably won't be able to. That being said, it is not for everyone and not for the faint of heart. There is a reason that this is Rated R. The movie is very long compared to the running time of most movies coming out recently. Thus, in order to fully enjoy and appreciate this gem, one must be patient. Everything shall fall into place and in the end, you will discover that it was one of the best ways to spend 150 minutes of your time. Trust me when I say that watching the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an intelligent, heart-wrenching, unforgettable experience.
Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace are essential to the film's success. Both actors inhabit their roles convincingly, making us care about people who could have been stock characters. Although the bulk of praise has gone to Rapace, Nyqvist's performance is also worth attention. As Blomkvist, he provides a stable counterpart to Rapace's impulsive Lisabeth Salander, at times coming across as the more sympathetic character.
Much has been made of the level of graphic violence, particularly sexual violence, in this film. Although this may be off-putting to some viewers, it helps establish one of the film's most important themes: the impact of violence on its victims and its capacity to warp the human personality. The most graphic scenes, which come early in the film, help establish this theme, and play an important role in characterization as well.
Hopefully, this film will be remembered at Oscar time. It is far better than most of the dreck that Hollywood has on offer.
Not surprisingly, the main character is, like the late author, an investigative reporter, a man in his late forties named Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist). Sentenced to a six-month stint in prison for allegedly forging evidence against a powerful businessman he wrote about in the magazine Millennium (hence the trilogy's title), he still has the time to carry out an assignment handed to him by one Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube): to find out what happened on the day Vanger's niece, Harriet, disappeared. Dis she simply vanish, or was she murdered? As the plot thickens, Mikael receives unexpected help from Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a young hacker with a troubled past and continued problems with her legal status, more specifically her sleazy guardian.
In the transition from page to screen, some elements had to be abandoned, obviously: gone are the data on abused women that opened each section of the book (the major contribution of Larsson's journalistic side), as well as the sly references to past detective story staples (Blomkvist and Vanger mention Agatha Christie when discussing their investigation). In terms of plot, on the other hand, the adaptation process is worthy of L.A. Confidential: no unnecessary subplots (do we really need to see Mikael sleeping with half the women he encounters?) or irrelevant side characters, just Blomkvist and Salander, an odd investigative couple whose essence is best summed up by Mikael's line: "You know everything about me, and I don't know sh*t about you.". It's that kind of weird humor, spoken in plain, brutal Swedish, that gives the film its heart, along with a decent dose of mystery.
The Scandinavian landscape has its part in guaranteeing the story's success, too: like in the wonderful Let the Right One In, the cold, snowy environment provides the ideal backdrop for one of the most chilling (pun not intended) and grisly tales of murder ever committed to film. Staying true to the book's bleak core, the violence is depicted without many restrictions, especially in the central rape scene that justifies the original Swedish title and sets The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo aside from the majority of Hollywood's sanitized thrillers.
In short, this is a riveting, rewarding experience. Needless to say, an American version is already in the works to please subtitle-weary moviegoers. It's not necessarily a bad idea (look at what Chris Nolan did with Insomnia, originally a Norwegian picture), but can there really be a Tinseltown actress brave - and good - enough to take over from the mesmerizing Noomi Rapace? Well, at least she still has two more films to steal before that happens...
Sweden seems to produce detectives at the end of their tethers, "Wallander" for example, and the protagonist here, Mikael a journalist, starts out facing three months in jail for defaming a shonky business tycoon. I thought criminal defamation was a thing of the past, but not it seems in Sweden. Mikael has been set up, but the case has brought him to the notice of Henrick Vander, the patriarch of an old industrial family, who commissions Mikael to investigate the disappearance of his favourite niece, who disappeared from the family's island retreat nearly 40 years ago. Mikael joins forces with the tiny but intimidating Lisbeth, an ace computer hacker with a dark past and an agenda of her own.
They soon discover that the Vander family, except for their client who is a nice old gent, are as about a dysfunctional a family as you might ever meet, on a par with the Essenbecks of Visconti's "The Damned". There are skeletons everywhere, not just in the closet. However Mikael and Lisbeth crack the case, after the usual quota of menacing moments and dashing around chasing red herrings and actual clues. Filmed in the midst of a Swedish winter the atmosphere is pretty gloomy, not to mention just plain cold.
Michael Nyqvist inhabits the role of Mikael pretty comfortably, spending quite a lot of time looking surprised, but Nooni Rapace as Lisbeth is something else again practically an elemental force never was someone so vulnerable and so dangerous at the same time.
Nit-pickers will be delighted to learn that in a short sequence set in outback northern Australia, Mikael's FWD has the correct licence plates and its steering wheel on the right. However the lighting was most peculiar and the sheep a bit out of place you mostly see cattle in northern Australia.
There are apparently two sequels in the pipeline, and despite some rather grisly moments I will line up to see them. Larrson, who died suddenly after producing three best-sellers, was a good storyteller and the film-makers have executed the adaptation with plenty of skill.
"Män Som Hatar Kvinnor" is one of the best films I have seen this year. The engaging suspense is very well developed, with many characters and subplots that are perfectly resolved without any flaw. Niels Arden Oplev has a tight direction, supported by an excellent screenplay and outstanding cast. Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace in the roles of an investigative journalist and an emotionally disturbed hacker respectively deserve nominations to the Oscar for their top-notch performances. Unfortunately it seems that the American cinema industry is preparing to destroy this awesome film with another remake. The Brazilian title is almost correct since "Män Som Hatar Kvinnor" means "Men Who Hate Women". My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Os Homens Que Não Amavam as Mulheres" ("The Men that did not Love Women")
My preconception before watching the film, based upon the images of the main character, was that this was quite possibly a film that gets a lot of it's traction from the beauty of it's female star - dressed up in that Gothic she's-a-bit-disturbed kind of Matrix chic.
I was pleasantly surprised that the eponymous character does actually have some depth, and didn't have me groaning at tank grrrl clichés too often.
The film then heads off into what seem to me kind of interesting waters and is gearing up to be intelligent, well-paced, suspenseful and unconventional.
The problems arise when the film starts tying the mysteries up. The kind of devices that you would dismiss in a TV drama as being clichés, start surfacing with alarming regularity... It becomes more difficult to suspend your credibility... Things take on an increasingly BBC 2 Poirot kind of feel.
Then when you feel that the story has been told, the film continues for another unnecessary 20 minutes or so, most of that time spent spelling things out in a slightly patronising way..
The final scene seems well and truly out of place. People may say that "if you read the book it all makes sense"... Maybe, but this isn't the book, and the film needs to stand on it's own two feet.
So I would say this is half a good film, and half a late night TV murder mystery. Worth seeing but doesn't live up to the hype in my opinion.
It has most of the elements that thrillers of this kind have. Clue by clue you are lead to the murderer, but the answer is only revealed at the end. Where is movie differs from most common thrillers is that characters are described more realistically, without certain bounds that most movies seem to have. This adds to the intensity of 'Men who hate women'.
This intense detective has some interesting twists, and should be quite enjoyable for most adults.
Lisbeth is supposed to be the best hacker in Sweden, and Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), who has a short time before he enters prison for libel, finds her to help look for the lost niece of a billionaire (Sven-Bertil Taube).
The film is brutal is some respects, as Lisbeth is abused by the man who controls her money. She is forced to have sex with him before she can collect. However she manages to turn the tables, and it is delicious.
When they discover the secret, it is even more heinous than they imagined.
But, things go on from there, and I would not reveal the surprising ending. It was sweet.
Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist were perfect.
It begins when a sickly, elderly billionaire industrialist who knows better than to trust his awful family wants to investigate the 42-year-old disappearance of his niece--the only relative he ever loved (think "The Big Sleep"). Through intermediaries, he hires Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace)--a hacker/private investigator with a troubled past and a large dragon tattoo on her back. Her assignment is to vet disgraced leftist journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist) to see if he's up to the job. Eventually Blomqvist agrees to do the job and quickly realizes that he needs Lisbeth to help him. Revealing much more of the plot would be unfair.
Aside from the serpentine plot (involving Nazis, serial killers, and a clandestine romance), the thing I liked most about this movie was Rapace's performance as the inscrutable Lisbeth. Maybe there's a pattern here, or maybe it's just me, but--along with Kristen Stewart in "The Runaways"--my two favorite female performances of 2010 thus far have been portrayals of angry, leather-jacketed bisexual young women. Without changing facial expressions, Rapace is somehow able to show anger, fear, love, sadness and embarrassment at the appropriate times. And I feel the scene where Lisbeth is raped by her parole officer ranks just as high if not higher than the scene in "The Accused" that won Jodie Foster her first Oscar.
According to this site, there is already an American remake in the works. I don't know how that's going to work. Parts of the plot are fairly Euro-centric (i.e. jail-time for libel, a local Nazi movement run by Hitler himself). Plus, the film retains novelist Stieg Larsson's radical anti-capitalist, anti-government views, which most Americans would find unpalatable.
The future of Swedish cinema rests on movies from that country being watchable without giving up their artistic merit. Swedish filmmakers need to step outside the notion of becoming "the next Bergman" because there will only ever be one Bergman. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a great first step along that path.