Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Screenplay: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg
Starring: Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace
After being set up, Mikael is facing ruin and a prison sentence for writing a supposed fraudulent story exposing the seedier side of an elite Swedish business man. Before he has to serve his time, he is contacted by a retired business man asking for Mikael’s help in solving the murder of the business man’s long lost niece, Harriet. He meets Lisbeth, the girl who had been hired to investigate his integrity and has continued to keep tabs on him, after she discovers a clue that had yet to be figured out by anyone over the years. Her rough looks and attitude are abrasive at first, but together Mikael and Lisbeth form a bond and work to solve the mystery before it gets them killed.
This film is based on the Stieg Larsson novel of the same title. Due to the novel’s popularity around the world, this Swedish import found its way to America. I will admit that I am pretty biased about this film based on the fact that it is Swedish. Being that I’m half Swedish, this is where I get my blonde attributes. That’s pretty much all I can claim. I am not exactly what they call proficient when it comes to the language. I would like to be, but that’s about as progressive as I’ve become with that dream. As interesting as that has probably been for you all, I should get back to the film.
Since this was a foreign film, I personally prefer to watch them with subtitles as opposed to a dubbed option. I find dubbing a little distracting and sometimes inadequate. With subtitles, you can still judge the actor’s themselves as opposed just their actions and some other actor trying to portray the character vocally. It is rare when you find the harmony between the two with a dubbed film.
The story line was very compelling in this film as it followed both Mikael and Lisbeth. The main mystery was the murder of Harriet, but the main characters had their own personal mysteries. Mikael had just come from a scandal that put his integrity into question. The details of the story are revealed gradually throughout the movie leaving the audience to question his “white hat.” We find out that Lisbeth is on probation and that her stability is problematic at best. Little is revealed about the reason she is in this situation. Knowing that this is the first of a three part series, some of the mystery about Lisbeth is not completely revealed, which cultivates interest for the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. The mixture of the three keeps the audience captivated right until the very thrilling end.
I would normally comment about the actors’ performances, but being that this is a foreign film, I am not familiar with these actors. I can only judge them based on this film. Each actor was believable without flaw with their respective characters. They both came off as seasoned. Even without familiarity, it is easy to tell new actors or bad actors. This was never a problem with this film. Though this is a story driven movie and it is strong, the story could not be executed smoothly without the performance of the actors.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is definitely worth checking out, whether or not you’ve read the novel. The success of both the novel and film versions has inspired an upcoming English remake starring Daniel Craig as Mikael. Saying that this is popular seems to be an understatement, but it is not fueled by hype. The film will entertain you, make you think, and leave you guessing.
I give this film 3 Buttery Kernels.
Coming Soon: The Runaways