After crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is hired by the scion of a wealthy Swedish family Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to investigate the disappearance of his 16-year-old niece Harriet 40 years ago, the reporter is soon joined by punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), who has been cyber-stalking the journalist. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo can at times suggest the gruesome, gratuitous content of some new crime show enterprise, say, CSI: Sweden. The film is a prolonged, often depressing catalogue of the aberrant, sadistic hatred many of the male characters have for women. For all of its disgust with the various crimes committed against women, an unsavory amount of screen time is devoted to visuals that depict those tortures. There is the mildly sickening sensation that as much as the film abhors the act, it lives in the same culture where those images compose a large part of what we strangely call “entertainment.” It’s hard to deny the tightening dread that envelops this well-paced thriller. And the tender, cautiously developing romantic relationship between Blomkvist and Salander serves as contrast to the sexual sadism and evil they begin to uncover. The pair are the oddest, but also the most uniquely moving, of couples.
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Writer: Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg
Cast: Peter Haber, Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, David Dencik, Georgi Staykov, Tomas Köhler, Lena Endre, Per Oscarsson, Ingvar Hirdwall and Gunnel Lindblom