The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo review

Posted on 19 March 2010
By Toni Garden
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Mikael Blomkvist is hired to investigate the 40 year disappearance of industrialist millionare, Henrik Vanger’s favourite niece Harriet.

Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker with a tormented past is hired by the Vanger family to check up on Blomkvist and before long Lisbeth and Blomkvist become a detective duo, delving into the Vanger family skeletons (literally).

Murder? Check. Mystery? Check. Isolated island? Check.

All the right ingredients to a classic Whodunit film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at first seems like a typical film for the ‘special offer’ bucket in Asda.

But as the two and a half hours of Sweedish delight continues it appears that all is not as it seems for this Murder Mystery.

Taking the lead with such intensity, Noomi Repace’s portrayal justifies the chain smoking, Neo pippi longstocking that is, Lisbeth Salander.

An anti-heroine Lisbeth endures abuse from everyone, including her Guardian (like a parole officer, but the Sweedish make it sound so much less like an episode of Bad Girls). But in true dark hero fashion Lisbeth deliver swift humiliating justice. Vengeance is sweet.

Lisbeth’s leather wearing, pierced clad face and deep black eye liner makes Blomkvist look exceptionally middle aged in his jumpers and hiking boots but the pair compliment one another in a peculiar way and bring a certain endearment that only polar opposites could.

But of course their relationship comes second to the mystery. Shrouded with many dark clouds of tension and thrilling suspense the plot thickens on the search for Harriet’s killer.

Add a Nazi family history, sexual abuse, mysogeny and corruption and you have the elements for a boiling pot of thrilling drama.

A strong Director in Niels Arden Oplev the film slowly builds as the Vanger mystery is unfolded. Efficient in his story telling technique, Oplev takes detours into flashbacks from both the Vanger history and Salander’s own tormented past keeping the audience on their toes throughout.

This is another big hitter for Sweedish cinema joining the likes of Let the Right One in, which made Hollywood really sit up and recognise that just because it had subtitles doesn’t mean audiences will be lost in translation.

Dragon Tattoo was based on the first of the Millennium trilogy from Stieg Larsson and after the success of the first the next two adaptations look set to be in the pipeline and better still it looks as though we will be seeing a lot more of Noomi Repace as she reclaims her role.