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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (Män som hatar kvinnor)

You can watch the trailer here

So I'd heard quite a bit of buzz about this Swedish film over the past year or so, and I saw the source novels popping up in my local Borders and Barnes & Noble. A few of my friends have read - or are currently reading - the trilogy (yes, there's two more movies; they must have filmed them all together), and they've all said good things. So when I saw that NetFlix had The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on Instant Watch, I figured I'd give it a shot.

The film, which was directed by Niels Arden Oplev, opens with the sentencing of Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to three months imprisonment for slandering an industrialist in his investigative journal, but he claims he was set up by a friend. At the same time, we meet professional hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) who has been following Mikael's life for her boss. Mikael has six months before he has to do his time, and his investigative prowess is soon employed by a man trying to solve the disappearance of his niece from forty years earlier. As Mikael begins to work through all of the information, he finds out that Lisbeth has been hacking into his computer and, impressed, asks for her help in his investigation. The two team up and try to solve a mystery that's much more complex than either can imagine.

That was probably the toughest plot synopsis I've ever had to write. Sure, there are movies with more intricate plots (i.e., Inception), but I didn't want to give anything away from this one. The screenplay is very good and very tightly-written, and it kept me engaged through its nearly two-and-a-half hour run-time (which is pretty impressive if I do say so myself). Although I did guess parts of the ending relatively early in the film (it's this semi-predictability that keeps it from being an amazing movie), I was still so entrenched with the story that I had to keep watching just to see how it got to that point. I think that says quite a bit about the movie on its own. I did have a couple of issues early in the film with one of Lisbeth's relationships - I understand why the filmmakers put it in the movie, and maybe it's more prominent in the books, but I just don't see why it was necessary other than to give character development that we get elsewhere anyways.

The acting is solid in the film with the leads carrying, and delivering, much of the weight. As good as Nyqvist was, I think the accolades have to (and have gone to) Miss Rapace for her performance. I could go into detail about the nuances and psychology of the development of her character, or I could talk about the range that Rapace delivers, from subtly quiet to over-the-top anger. However, the one thing that truly stood out - and this is probably going to sound pretty lame - is that she never once smiles during the movie. It may seem something too small to mention, but the fact that Lisbeth Salander doesn't smile makes the character much more complete and realistic. Although I don't know any of Noomi Rapace's previous work (it's all been in foreign films to this point), I can assume that she completely embodied this character to the best of her ability, and it definitely shows.

As I previously mentioned, there were a couple of things here and there that kept The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from being a fantastic film. That doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't watch it. I know that I'd definitely give it another viewing, and it impressed me enough to seek out both of the film's sequels (The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) and watch those as well.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: A-
Current All-Time Rank: Best - # 242
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Awards
2010: 3 nominations