Monday, January 24, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) R - 4 Stars

The worker at Blockbuster suggested I watch this movie. I'm told there will be three in the series starting with this one. Based on the trilogy of novels by the late Stieg Larsson. It has a ton of alias names, Maend der hader kvinder , Man Som Hatar Kvinnor, Men Who Hate Women, Menn som hater kvinner, Miehet jotka vihaavat naisia and Millenium.

Even with subtitles, it's easy to stay focused on the action without loosing the story, however you can watch the dubbed English version for easier viewing. Possibly one of the best foreign movies I've seen. I went in with an open mind and uncovered a very dark powerful movie that certainly won't be for everyone. I've not heard of Noomi Rapace before and she gives one hell of a performance as Lisbeth, a young troubled girl eager to get revenge with the men who formed her life. She's the ultimate computer hacker and with Nyqvist, they work on a 40 year old unsolved murder case. Definitely not a family flick as it can be brutally violent at times but also necessary to see inside the mindset of Lisbeth. Acting is powerful from entire cast and will leave a lasting impression in your mind. Full of surprises, twists and turns that keep you guessing. Not sure how close it is to the book having not read any of the trilogy. One note: there is a scene at the beginning with Lisbeth getting out of a woman's bed and there is no tattoo on her back. Then at the end when she rises, she has the tattoo. Glitch or purposeful info I missed - that confused me a little but I'm looking forward to the next two parts. I only hope they are half as good as this one which should take many foreign film awards.

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, (Michael Nyqvist), works for magazine Millennium. He and the magazine loose a libel case against Swedish tycoon Hans-Erik Wennerström, forcing  a large sum of money to be paid and Mikael getting sentenced to 6 months in jail. Before he does his time, he's hired by wealthy Vanger family member, Henrik Vanger, (Sven-Bertil Taube), to find clues in the disappearance of his niece, Harriet Vanger, (Ewa Fröling). As he's nearing his own death, Henrik is eager to learn what happened to her before he dies and horrified by the thought a family member is responsible cutting her from his inheritance. The Vanger family owns and inhabits a private island and live their in separate homes. Henrik believes that Harriet was murdered on this island at a gathering over 40 years ago when Harriet was just 16. The bridge that encloses the island to the mainland was closed that day allowing no access in or out so someone in the family must be involved. Harriet's body was never found, and with little to go on, Mikael decides to take the case before he has to do his time in prison.

Lisbeth Salander, (Noomi Rapace), is a talented computer hacker. She spends her time in cyberspace studying rape cases, trying to find overlooked clues. She hacks into Mikael's computer to offer him a clue on the Vanger case. The two become cohorts as they dig deeper into the past, seemingly a bit too close to stepping on toes of other Vanger members. The more clues they uncover, the more their lives seem in danger as the Vanger's will stop at nothing to keep their skeletons tightly locked away in their closets.

Awards include:

2010 Guldbagge Awards - Best Actress & Best Film
2010 Monte-Carlo TV Festival - Outstanding Actress in a Mini-Series
2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival - Best Narrative Feature

Momentum Pictures, Yellow Bird Productions
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writers: Nicolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg
Producer: Soren Staermose
I viewed 10/10

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