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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) (2010) ***

March 22, 2010

Written by: Stieg Larsson (novel), Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg (screenplay)

Produced by: Søren Stærmose

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev

No Rating

152 min.

U.S. Release Date: March 19, 2010

Based on Stieg Larsson’s popular novel, the Swedish film “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (the Swedish title is translated to “Men Who Hate Women”) weaves together the story arcs of a famous journalist and a female hacker as they attempt to uncover the disappearance of a young woman.  Larsson’s story is one of abuse, sexism and hate.  Director Oplev leaves little room for imagination during the scenes of violence in this film, but is it effective?  Does a director have to use excessive violence to prove a point or does the story fall flat without it?

Several decades ago, a young woman named Harriet Vanger went missing from her home on an island owned by her family, the powerful Vanger clan.  Her uncle, Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), is convinced that the disappearance is tied to one of his estranged family members, some of which are old Nazis.  Vanger hires washed up journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to shed some light on his niece’s disappearance.  Along the way, Blomkvist employs the help of a young feisty inked-up computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), who has a bit of a rough past of her own.

Blomkvist and Salander use technology (a 152 minute commercial for Apple products) to help them scour photo archives, family records, and contacts to slowly unravel the forty-year-old mystery of Harriet’s disappearance.  As they piece together this conspiracy, the mystery-solving duo slowly figures out that the answers have been close by all along (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler).  What Lisbeth and Mikael expose is a nasty stench of brutality in massive portions.

What I really like about this film is Niels Arden Oplev’s use of violence in the scenes that require it.  The scenes with Lisbeth and her “guardian” are atrocious and difficult to look at, but they provide a true sense of sympathy with the character.  Throughout all Lisbeth’s experiences during the remainder of the film, the viewer completely understands her motivations and subsequent actions.  Make no mistake, don’t bring the kiddies to see this film!

Overall, I am excited that this story is the first in a series of three.  The way the film resolves left me very intrigued to see another installment.  Director Niels Arden Oplev shows some serious chops in creating a story that succeeds on several levels, and I greatly look forward to seeing more of his work.  Also, be on the lookout for news on the Hollywood remake of this film – nothing but rumors so far.  If you like the novels, or have any interest in them, you will definitely be a fan of this film.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sab permalink
    March 22, 2010 10:15 pm

    I am currently reading the book that this movie is based on and now very eager to watch the movie too.
    Thanks for putting up the review. I won’t miss this one.

  2. March 24, 2010 1:03 am

    This movie was amazing, I have to see it again to really get everything straight in my mind. Maybe I see you in the balcony this week

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