Sunday, 20 February 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Year: 2009
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Screenplay: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg, based on the novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber, Marika Lagercrantz, Lena Endre, Bjorn Granath, Ingvar Herdwall, Peter Andersson, Tehilla Blad
Running Time: 152 minutes, 180 minute extended version
Genre: Crime, thriller

Summary: Mykael Blomkvist (Nyqvist), an investigative journalist with controversial magazine Millennium, loses a high-profile libel case and finds his reputation in tatters and his career potentially ruined. Deciding to take a leave of absence from the magazine, Blomkvist is contacted an extremely wealthy and powerful businessman, Henrik Vanger (Taube), head of the family run Vanger Group. Vanger is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his beloved neice, Harriet, some forty years earlier. He believes that Harriet was murdered by a member of their own family, and he wants Blomkvist to go over the investigation again in the vain hope that he might come up with some new leads or previously overlooked clue. Blomkvist agrees to the assignment.
However, he learns that his investigation is being closely monitored. Lisbeth Salander (Rapace), an expert computer hacker and investigator, who was hired to do a background check on Blomkvist prior to Vanger hiring him, becomes fascinated by his investigation. Fiercely intelligent, strong, uncompromising and not caring a thing about society's rules and conventions, Salander helps Blomkvist with his investigation. However, as they get closer to the truth it becomes apparent that they have powerful and ruthless enemies who will stop at nothing to keep the dark secrets hidden.

Opinions: The Millennium trilogy by the late Swedish journalist and author Steig Larsson (which consists of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2005), The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2007)) has been one of the publishing sensations of the past decade. The books have sold millions of copies worldwide. The three books were adpated as a six-part Swedish miniseries (each novel being broadcast in two episodes.
This film is an edited version of the first two episodes of the mini-series. The film follows the storyline of the novel very closely and it does not suffer in any way from having it's origins on the small screen. Michael Nyqvist is engaging and likeable as the crusading journalist Blomkvist, but the film belongs to Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, "the girl with the dragon tattoo" of the title, making her both terrifying and sympathetic, sometimes at the same time. She also manages to make the extremely uncompromising and antisocial Salander consistently likeable, with an icily granite stare to rival Clint Eastwood's.
The film looks beautiful making good use of the Swedish countryside, and both script and direction keep a tight control of the material while successfully retaining Larsson's labyrinthine narrative.
Fans of the books will doubtless love the film, and it also manages to be engaging and entertaining for newcomers to the story.
An English language remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara is due for release in December 2011.

Noomi Rapace in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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