The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been on the news lately with the trilogy by deceased author, Steig Larsson is getting a lot of buzz with David Fincher is talking about remaking it. The movie was released last year in Sweden and got a small release here before it was released on DVD recently. I actually bought the paperback version of the book and haven’t cracked it open before I saw the film. I should read the book to get a better sense of the story.

The film is split up to two sections that would eventually intersect. One side of the story deals with a watchdog journalist from Millennium magazine, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) that is sentenced to three months imprisonment for slandering the name of slimy industrialist, Hans-Erik Wennerström (Stefan Sauk). Mikael accused him fraud and selling illegal firearms. The magazine and he has to pay damages to him. He resigns from the magazine to take the heat off them. His name is on the news everywhere.

The other side of the story is the actual girl with the dragon tattoo, a hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). She works for Milton Security to do a background check on Mikael. What secret is he hiding? She thinks that he was framed with false information by his anonymous source. She is a troubled woman with her violent behavior in her past. She requires a guardian to take charge of her decisions. Her new guardian, Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson) takes his power too far.

Dirch Frode (Ingvar Hirdwall) contacts Mikael on behalf of Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to come to his residence. Mikael reluctantly accepts the invitation. Henrik wants to have his investigative skills to solve the disappearance of his niece, Harriet, who disappeared in 1966 under mysterious circumstances. They are very close. Henrik is obsessed with finding justice for Harriet when every year on his birthday he gets a flower portrait that was Harriet’s thing. Henrik believes that someone in his immediate family had something to do with her disappearance. He wants to find out whom.

Mikael decides before he has to begin his sentence to take up the cold case. He has to be reminded that Harriet was his babysitter back at the time that she disappeared. Mikael moves into Henrik’s gust house and begins work on the available materials that were a part of the investigation from Gustav Morell (Björn Granath). The more that he hammers away at solving the puzzle, secrets begin to unravel.

Not being familiar with the story or reading a single page of the movie, I was unsure about this movie. The movie is long. Over two and half hours in Swedish could be daunting. The first half of the movie was packed with exposition, strange interactions with Lisbeth and the guardian and staring at the black and white photo of Harriet close-up. To be honest, I got kinda bored with it. The tone seemed off. I believe when the two plotlines come together, I started getting into the movie more.

I’m not saying that this is greatest movie ever. The cold case aspect of the movie was nice, but it was predictable about who did the deed. Being a mystery buff, it was easy to discern who would capable of doing the deed.

The original title of the book was supposed to be “The Men Who Hate Women”. I could understand that why that had to be changed, because a title like that would not have sold or be a successful trilogy. There are some brutal scenes of rape, S&M, misogyny and all that sort. This movie is not for the squeamish. After watching this movie, it makes me want to read the book to put the pieces together that I missed watching this movie. I got confused in some parts.

Judgment: I cannot outright recommend this movie for everyone. Be cautious with this one.

Rating: ***1/2

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About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on July 19, 2010, in 2009, Crime, Drama, Foreign Language, Mystery, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I totally get your reservations about the film based on some of the more graphic elements therein, but recommending Greenberg over this sounds crazy to me. Are you marking it down over its predictability, or that it was a little confusing at times because of the cultural translation? Seriously, I have yet to rate a new release DVD as highly as I’ve rated this one – it just broke new ground for me in so many ways.

    • I always knock it down at least half a star, because if something is predictable or I figured it out way before the characters do. It cheapens the experience for me. I want to be like “I didn’t expect that coming.” Not like a twist ending. Something unexpected and not contrived in my opinion.

      If don’t understand what’s going on, I have to power to rewind the movie. I had to do that with this movie. Some things went past me and I had to go back again and again.

      • I think I was still taken off guard because I was so immersed in what was going on, and trying to figure out all the little quirks these Swedes were up to. By the time Michael was being shot at in the woods, I was too preoccupied with all the threads of the story to bother thinking how familiar some of it looked, or how the faceless shooter in the woods often points at an obvious suspect. It was Dragon Tattoo’s ability to sweep me away that got my respect, perhaps there’s a cultural disconnect there somewhere.

  2. I agree that I was swept up in the story to a certain point. The mystery had to be solved and things were getting obvious. That was my biggest problem.

    I know they filmed the trilogy already and it feels it was a lot of buildup for a short climax. I felt cheated by the end.

    • Man, if you felt cheated by the end of Dragon Tattoo, you are not gonna like Girl Who Played With Fire. It lacks some of the elements that made Dragon Tattoo transcend the traditional murder mystery genre.

  3. yeah, theres some heavy stuff in this movie but i enjoyed it overall.
    somehow it made people sitting in front of their computers look exciting

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