Film Review: Män som hatar kvinnor – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2010)

*REVIEW CONTAINS POSSIBLE PLOT SPOILERS*

‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ is a slick multi-layered thriller with genuinely unsettling  moments that Hollywood should be jealous of.

Based on the first book of the bestselling ‘Millennium Trilogy’ by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ tells the story of disgraced investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist’s (Michael Nygvist) efforts to solve a forty year old murder with the help of the brilliant but socially lost researcher, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace).

It might sound pedestrian on paper but as fans of the novel know, this tale is nothing of the sort. Unlike some recent Hollywood thrillers that to break down the plot into nice bite sized chunks, pausing occasionally to explain the plot, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ does none of this understanding that we, the audience, are intelligent and more than capable of following the action. Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg have managed to take the detailed arch’s and subplots contained within the book and given us a script that is unashamedly clever, losing little from the original source and even weaving in hints of things yet to come.

Niels Arden Oplev takes his time directing the action, while there has been some criticism concerning it’s length at no point was I bored, finding myself glued to the screen even during the unsettling rape scenes. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t film the next two in the trilogy but I’m sure the subsequent directors are just as capable as he is.

Noomi Rapace deserves the praise she has been getting for her outstanding inhabitation of Lisbeth Salander the awkward, slightly unbalanced but brilliant young hacker. I can imagine no other actor capable of stepping into the shoes of this character, breathing the right amount of vulnerable strength into her and am dreading the inevitable Hollywood remake. Michael Nygvist is perfectly cast as the disgraced journalist, giving his character the necessary edge to make him entirely believable. Peter Andersson as the twisted Nils Bjurman deserves praise for his stellar performance, as does Peter Haber as the equally deplorable Martin Vanger.

Overall this is an outstanding film, tightly directed and cleverly adapted with excellent performances. Highly recommended.

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