Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev.
2009. Rated R, 152 minutes.
Noomi Rapace
Michael Nyqvist
Sven-Bertil Taube
Peter Haber
Lena Endre
Ingvar Hirdwall
Peter Andersson
Tomas Köhler

Plot: Journalist/corporate watchdog Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) is hired by ultra wealthy Henrik Vanger (Taube) to investigate the 40 year old murder of Vanger’s then 16 year old niece. Along the way, Blomkvist enlists the help of Lisbeth (Rapace) a hacker who had been hired to investigate him. Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson.

The Good: With any Cold Case style murder mystery, the twists and turns have to be interesting and here, they’re very much so. Trying to guess “whodunit” is a task you’re likely to fail. On top of that, our title character is infinitely mysterious and intriguing in her own right. As our heroine, Noomi Rapace gives a fantastic performance of an amazingly written role. She exudes attitude and a tough exterior but we can tell it hides deep scars and vulnerability even before we’re shown this. This is key because without it, she’d be totally unlikeable. We might even think she deserves some of the things that happen to her. Instead, we root for her even though we really don’t know her. She, and the movie itself through Oplev’s excellent direction, puts up a tough front but only reveals the soft core very late in the proceedings.

The Bad: The story surrounding Mikael’s problems outside of this investigation could’ve been much more interesting. It’s there at the beginning and mentioned a coupled times in the middle and resolved at the end, but fails to grab us. As a whole, the movie runs a bit long. The actual length isn’t the problem. I’ve watched plenty of great movies longer than this. The problem is it’s ending could’ve been more concise instead of lingering the way it does. Finally, there’s the question of Lisbeth’s love life. In the end, we’re not sure whether she’s in a love triangle or not. This is a minor detail in the grand scheme. However, since this is the first of a proposed trilogy, it’s something I’d like to see addressed.

The Ugly: Everything involving Lisbeth’s new probation officer.

Recommendation: If mystery is your thing run, don’t walk, to get your hands on this movie. It’s got all the key ingredients: murder, suspense, sex and violence somehow mixed in to a pretty unique dish. Oh yeah, subtitleophobes beware: we’re speaking Swedish.

The Opposite View: Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

What the Internet Says: 7.7/10 on (8/25/10), 86% on, 76/100 on

MY SCORE: 9/10


  1. Have you read any of the books and do you happen to know how many there are? I been hearing alot obout them, almost bought one in walmart the other day. Isn't there another movie getting ready to come out?

  2. No, I haven't read any of the books, but there are three of them. It's the author's "Milennium" trilogy. There are also to be 3 movies in this series. The second, "The Girl who Played with Fire" hit a few US theaters in July and will probably hit DVD soon. There is also an American version of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" scheduled to hit theaters next year.