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I've always been cautious about seeing Swedish films made in the last
30-40 years. The reason is that--unlike America, Britain, Germany,
China, Mexico, Italy or Australia--there is almost no controversy over
who is Sweden's greatest filmmaker. And thus nearly every Swedish film
I've ever seen not directed by Ingmar Bergman has either been a rip-off
of the great man's work or just shallow trash. (Substitute "Kurosawa"
for "Bergman" and you'll know why I also tend to avoid Japanese
cinema). Nonetheless, I kept hearing about this film and the book that
inspired it. As a lover of mystery novels and film noir, I decided that
I need to at least give this movie a chance. And I'm glad I did. "The
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" owes almost nothing to Bergman and
everything to the novels of Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie today in a pre-release screening 10 days before the
official release in Denmark.
I really liked this movie. I haven't read the book, so I can't compare the two. I'm Danish, the movie is Swedish (info: Denmark and Sweden are neighbors and share a very similar language), and I haven't really seen any Swedish movies before.
You can compare this movie to Kongekabale (2004). The themes are somewhat similar: secrets must be researched and uncovered, and someone tries to kill others in order to prevent the secret from getting out.
I think both the main characters (Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander) are likable characters. My favorite is definitely Lisbeth Salander, as her being tech-savvy is something I can relate to. You get to know Lisbeth's history, while Mikael's is not revealed too much. I think this might be something missing from the plot, though I don't think it's that serious, as it's not really crucial information that will render the rest of the plot fuzzy and confusing.
Again, there are several times in the movie where you get to know Lisbeth more. I think this is because the majority of the people watching this type of films can relate more to the journalist (Mikael), than the Gothic computer hacker Lisbeth. I actually liked this, since her part of the movie catches my fancy. That being said, I also liked the rest of the movie. Very exciting. Hard to keep your eyes off the screen at most times.
I basically enjoyed this film, as reflected in my rating but it is
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.
This is the way Hollywood should learn to balance the suspense of a
thriller and the character of a good drama. The chemistry between the
two leads and their ability to convey the complexities of their
relationship are a huge draw when watching this movie.
The girl is complex, and this first movie in the trilogy only gives a glimpse of her back story - a violent young woman, who at 24 years old is still saddled with a guardian who wants to oversee her money and all her activities. Even though she is the title character, the investigator/journalist who crosses paths with her is really the driving persona in the story. We follow him into a murder mystery, where her story is only a backdrop to her character and her motivation for helping the investigation.
The murder mystery itself is just as compelling as it begins to take the lead. While the structure of setting up such complex characters before getting into the main storyline is a little foreign to the American audience, it's necessary for a story with such characters and it's handled seamlessly here. The story never loses its drive, and its climax touching on issues of race dynamics, twisted psychologies and dysfunctional families, is worth every moment of the film's buildup.
And the second movie in the trilogy is even better!
Fans of Pauley Perrette's role as Abby on NCIS, will love the character
Lisbeth Salander, a goth girl played by Noomi Rapace. She turns a great
thriller into something much more interesting.
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.
This film is not for children or squeamish adults. This film has shocking moments like Lisbeth's relationship with her appointed guardian for instance. I won't spoil the circumstances but it's worth noticing Lisbeth's sense of justice throughout the film. Without knowing it, she is following Michael Blomquist, a disgraced journalist with prison time for libel. Anyway, he has six months so he takes a leave and is hired to find out about the disappearance of Harriet Vanger. The Vanger family is one of the wealthiest in the country but they have their share of secrets. Anyway, the story slowly unravels at a decent pace. I haven't read the books but I was interested in seeing the Swedish film over the American version of the same story. Maybe it's because I think Sweden has a great cast in this film. The actress who plays Lisbeth Salander is fantastic in this role. She was plays Lisbeth in the trilogy. I can't wait to see those films.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo takes us into the investigation of one
Harriet Vanger, who disappeared when she was just 16 years old and has
been missing for the last 40 years. Still distraught about Harriet's
case, her uncle, Henrik Vanger, hires troubled journalist Mikael
Blomksvist to find out what happened. Along the way, he teams up with
Lisbeth Salander, an eccentric hacker genius, and what they uncover is
far worse than they could have ever imagined.
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.
I first heard about the book several years ago and I didn't think I
would like it. It just sounded crazy. But when I finally sat down with
it I couldn't stop. It was absolutely gripping. It has been a few years
since I have read it so I can't be real specific. I liked it so much
that I couldn't put it down and bought the rest of the trilogy. They
were all great but the second two wandered a bit after the gripping
tension of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Thank goodness I read them
in proper order.
The first time I watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo it was on Netflix and in Swedish. Luckily the subtitles were good. After that I had to see the English version.
What a shame that the author died shortly after he finished the third on. I would have loved to read more of his writing.
Heck, I liked the books and movies so much that I made a website at http://thedragontattoogirl.com. I hope to have more info on there soon.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I saw the trailer for this film, I thought, "This is gonna be good!" I had no idea that there were books before, or that the film was in Swedish! And to be perfectly honest i was a bit hesitant to watch it because of the language. I hate dubbed film's it spoils the films originality. So I looked into the subtitled versions i eventually I watched the original extended Swedish version with English subtitles. And boy am i glad i did! The story follows a journalist called Mikael Blomkvist who is about to be sent to jail for publishing an article on a certain man. But he is given 6 months before he goes into jail. He is then asked by another man called Henrik Vanger to help him look for a girl who disappeared 40 years ago. Mikael looks into this case that was closed many years ago and is determined to find this girls body before Henrik dies. Mikael finds this case extremely difficult and i about to give up when a girl called Lisbeth Salander a hacker working for some company, hacks into Mikael's emails and solves one major puzzle for him. he then persuades her to help him in finding the person who was responsible for this girls disappearance 40 years ago. With Lisbeth's help they find a trail of murders that happened through out the years and that all seem to link back to the girls disappearance. This film was very interesting and entertaining and kept me wondering who the killer was right until the end. But it is also quite violent in some parts and also has a lot of swearing through out.(This doesn't bother me, but some people might find it offensive.) Also there is quite a graphic rape scene in the film, no nudity is shown but there is a lot of scream's, this people will find disturbing and difficult to watch (I did!) I thought this movie was very well written and cleverly done, So it deserves 10/10. I haven't read the books so i can't compare. But after i watch the trilogy i may read them! I hope you all find the film as good as i did! Can't wait to see the next episode in the trilogy "The Girl Who Played With Fire!" Which i hope will be as good as the first!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This lurid but engrossing mystery thriller about a cold-blooded killer who kills women for fun is riveting stuff from start to finish. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev helmed the first of the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy of thrillers. Clocking in at 153 minutes, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is a gripping account of the search for a girl who mysteriously vanished and one of her relatives who hires a journalist who has just lost a libel suit against a billionaire industrialist to find her. Retired industrialist Henrik Vanger hires publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, Mikael Blomkvist, to solve the 40 year disappearance of Henrik's great-niece. Henrik puts Blomkvist on this cold case based on a profile prepared for him by Lisbeth Salander, a computer whiz with a history of having been abused by her father. In flashbacks, we learn that Lisbeth set her abusive father aflame and she has been on probation since the incident. When she starts hacking into Blomkvist's computer to solve the mystery herself, the journalist contacts her and she joins him. Lisbeth knows a whole lot about abuse. Not only did her father take advantage of her, but she finds herself raped and sodomized by her new probation officer. Lisbeth turns the tables on the evil man when he ties her down to a bed and has his way with her. Little does he know that she has recorded a video of him ravishing her. Later, she gains the upper hand, ties him up, and tattoos on his stomach the words "I am a sadistic pig and a rapist" on his stomach. Eventually, as Blomkvist's investigation takes him dangerously close to the truth, the rest of the Vanger family objects, particularly after Henrik suffers a heart attack. Oplev doesn't waste a single second and you cannot take your eyes off Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is an unforgettable film.
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