Friday, March 19, 2010


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo What if you have a crime case that police cannot solve? Well, if you have enough money, you can hire a journalist and a computer hacker to investigate. Apparently this approach is working in a murder mystery thriller "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Män som hatar kvinnor | Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2009 | in Swedish | 152 min.). The film is directed by Danish director Niels Arden Oplev and based on a bestselling crime novel by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson. The film is gripping and suspensive, until you begin to wonder why the protagonists have not been recruited by CIA or FBI to locate Osama bin Laden.

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is hired by the wealthy Vanger family to search for clues about the disappearance of a family member Harriet Vanger forty years ago. Soon into the investigation, he finds out that a troubled and tattooed computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is also hired for the case, independently. After they join force, among other things, the deeper they investigate, the more disturbing secrets they uncover.

The title character is Lisbeth, who has a huge dragon tattoo on her back. The film does not explain the significance of her tattoo, but it does have a thrilling tattoo scene. Although her tattoo is not impressive, her remarkable computer hacker skill seems enable her to find anything she needs, except altering her criminal records or preventing her from her probation supervisor's abuse. She is the driving force to solve all the puzzles and finding all the clues, as if there is nothing that cannot be figured out once Lisbeth and Mikael get together.

Perhaps the credibility of the characters is not as important as the suspensive style and twisted plot—just listen to the overly dramatic pretentious soundtrack. However, the engaging, and sometimes shocking, story leaves the audience little time to reason during the very long running time and brutal violent acts.

Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The film makes us wonder what kind of dark secrets might be hiding behind those closed doors in every charming Swedish family. However, one thing can be certain is that whatever it is, this tough girl with a dragon tattoo can find out, and she is not somebody you want to mess with.

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" opens on Friday, March 19, 2010 at Bay Area theaters.

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