The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Reviews
A 40 year old murder is attempted to be solved by a disgraced journalist and steampunk hacker.
The relation between Lisbeth and the reporter is certainly one of the high points of the film, it's truly a lesson on how to write convincing character relations. If there is any cinematic justice in this world Noomi Rapace has to become a big star with great roles in great movies.
I watched the extended version, which is a whopping 180 minutes long, and I did not feel there was much that could have been left out. Even the seemingly pointless affair between Berger and Blomkvist ended up serving a purpose. Could they have done that better? Sure, but it's not like it was the worst plot device ever.
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is hired by aged tycoon Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to look into the 40 year-old disappearance of a favourite niece. Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) checks out Mikael as a preliminary to his hiring, and is intrigued by the old mystery. The two investigators team up and find themselves pursuing several serial killers.
Former journalist turned novelist Stieg Larsson's books were released after his untimely death, to remarkable success. Due to such success, they were always likely to be adapted into films. Well, here is the first and it's a very faithful adaptation. A tightly structured and gripping whodunnit that takes it's time in revealing the pieces to it's elaborate puzzle. This film is in no rush and plays out in a way that respects the audience's intelligence and patience.
Mikael Blomkvist is an endearing character, the moral male to Lisbeth Salander's feral female. Both genders acting against type in Stieg Larsson's misogynist world and both Michael Nyqvist and especially, Noomi Rapace are excellent in their roles. Rapace getting the part of a lifetime as one of the best heroine's to hit our screens for a very long time. She takes no shit and turns the tables on the depraved men of society, who have nothing more on their minds than abuse and rape. Misogyny is a strong theme throughout. Even reflected in the original title of the film 'Man Som Hatar Kvinnor', which literally translates as "Men Who hate Women". It's a very dark and graphic film that has an escalating sense of foreboding from the get go. The only gripe I have is that, being a major part of the story, the Vanger family are a little on the underdeveloped side. It can often be confusing as to who is who and when the big reveal is made, it doesn't quite have the surprise or impact it should. However, this is a minor fault in an otherwise taut and well structured thriller.
Murder mysteries don't come much better than this. Thoroughly rewarding stuff.
I had heard so much about this film, its sequels, and the books they are based on. I was lead to believe that this was an unparalled masterpeice or something. Now that I've seen it, I'm a little disappointed. It's not quite an excellent masterpiece, but it is a very solid and compelling thriller...but also a little underwhelming one.
The main story, a cold case/whodunnit is the main focus of things, and it is really the least interesting or compelling part of the story. It feels like a super long and more graphic version of one of the many cop drama shows on TV. That's not a bad thing, but it is a bit of an issue when it is supposed to be the main storyline.
The film is much better when it focuses on the characters, mainly Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (the titular girl with the dragon tattoo...and what an amazing tattoo it is). Especially Salander, she's one of the coolest and most interesting characters of recent years. It's just a shame that she feels a little cold, distant, and undercooked. Maybe that's the point, or maybe the book just developed her better, who knows.
Like I said, the whodunnit isn't as compelling as it should be, but some of the details of the case are pretty cool. It bugged me that the case sort of feels of no consequence, or isn't as weighty and urgent as it should be, but I have a hard time docking the film too many points, because the film has great style, a good look, and some good characters (fleshed out by some great acting).
The film is a little long, and a little slow at first, but once it gets going, it is a pretty good ride, despite all the flaws I've previously mentioned. I expected a lot from it, and, while I was a little let down, here's to hoping the sequels (and David Fincher's American remake) can give the story and characters the true justice they deserve.