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anders_noer

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55 out of 71 people found the following review useful:
Loyal adaption of best seller book, 28 February 2009
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Män som hatar Kvinnor" is a whodunit thriller revolving around sadism towards women. It is based on the first book in Stieg Larsson's crime trilogy with the main characters journalist Mikael Blomkvist and outcast hacker Lisbeth Salander. For the record, this trilogy has had rave reviews and been among the best selling books in Scandinavia.

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.

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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.

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Robert Rodriguez shows his incredible diversity, 7 February 2009
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*** INCLUDES SPOILERS ***

Being Director of Photography, composer, director, writer, producer and doing the editing for this movie, shows Rodriguez to be one of the most well rounded talents in modern movie making (being a force in this particular genre primarily). He seems to master all aspects of film making with relative ease and gets the look, sound and feel he wants. The end result is a very coherent and tight product. Quite a powerful display of craftsmanship and passion for film making.

If gore is not your thing, you probably wont watch this movie from start to end. If you can stomach it, however, you will be well rewarded.

Your ability to get the humour in this movie is largely based on your frame of reference. If you have no prior knowledge about, or love for, classic horror/gore movies, you're not gonna pick up on all the quirky and subtle inter-textual hints and references throughout this roller-coaster ride.

Even those with no particular interest in former horror/gore should however find amusement in some of the dialogue which is cleverly tongue-in-cheek and at times outright hilarious. Especially Jeff Fahey's character (J.T)., Bruce Willis (Lt. Muldoon) and Freddy Rodríguez (El Wray) deliver some memorable one liners (El Wray's: "I never miss!" late in the movie, being a prime example). The plot is meant to be predictable, the characters are meant to be shallow, an occasional camera crane in the background is left there intentionally and the lacking realism serves to establish the setting and premise for the movie. Car's don't explode, a leg-mounted gun wont fire automatically, zombies don't exist, characters react unlike real persons etc.

Rodriguez manages to honor (and at the same time ridicule) the last 50 years of horror movie making, entertain and gross out his audience while seemingly having great fun in the meantime. He never claimed this should be art and it shouldn't be reviewed as such.