The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Reviewed
Everyone has secrets
Author Stieg Larsson’s first Swedish thriller in the Millennium trilogy, ’The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ becomes a beautiful yet dangerous and tense story under the direction of Niels Arden Oplev, who does exceptionally well in turning the romanticized and harmonious Sweden into a stark snow covered Iceland harbouring shocking secrets. Sweden is admired for being a model society, but in this film, dark secrets and manipulative lies are buried beneath thick snow and the icy glares of the guilty...showing a complete contrast to the peaceful and non-eventful Sweden we know.
Everyone has secrets...we are not taken into the charming homes or cafes of Swedish life, but into the dark nature of the wealthy and privileged. Beneath the sophisticated exterior of the wealthy Vanger family is the forty year old disappearance of (then) sixteen year old Harriet Vanger, niece to Henrik Vanger. Henrik (who is the head of the family owned business) haunted by Harriet’s disappearance is determined to find her killer whom he suspects of being within the jealous Vanger family. Drawn into this case are two unlikely individuals, disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist and elusive Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander. Actor Michael Nyqvist as Blomkvist is sympathetic and thoughtful as the dedicated and traditional investigative reporter pulled further into the sordid truth. Noomi Rapace portrays the tattooed and pierced Lisbeth as a tough yet vulnerable anti-heroine with her won secrets that fuel her complex relationship with Blomkvist. Some focus is drawn towards how they relate to each other as opposites and themselves, and as a result, the film is rewarded with their outstanding performances.
Almost 3 hours long, the film moves at a pace which builds up suspense as it explores and reveals ugly truths, hinting at Lisbeth’s traumatizing past and culminating in a shocking discovery. Director Oplev is able to create a disconcerting atmosphere using wide shots of snow covered Sweden and constantly introducing different characters who fuel the path to the truth.
What we begin to see unraveling is the nature of each character and the dark emotions that societies work so hard to keep hidden. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is refreshingly non-Hollywood and is immensely satisfying as an Agatha Christie type thriller.