Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Grade : A+ Year : 2010 Director : Running Time : Genre :
Movie review score

Immediately, I can see the appeal to American studios to remake this. And with his 2007 masterpiece “Zodiac” under his belt, it’s easy to see David Fincher’s desire to direct it.

That said, like with the Swedish horror film “Let the Right One In,” why remake it at all? Yes, it’s been out for several months, and I do wish I’d gotten to it sooner, but at least the second film in this trilogy- “The Girl Who Played With Fire”- is in theatres so I can catch up quickly. As the saying goes- good things come to those who wait.

And “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is very good indeed. It’s a mystery wrapped in an obsession with characters more interesting than the story that brings them together (yes, if it has to be remade, Fincher is the one to do it).

The film- based on the first book of the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy- begins like seemingly different stories. A reporter is found guilty of libel against a powerful industrialist, as a computer hacker is investigating his life for her employer, who’s in security. She thinks something stinks about the case, but as she probes deeper as he’s preparing to serve time, she gets sucked into a 40-year old mystery of the disappearance into the niece of a family patriarch, who’s been obsessed with finding out what happened ever since.

The hacker is Lisbeth Salander, a 24-year old woman on probation and with a history of violence and mental issues. She also is the most striking-looking woman at the center of any thriller in a good long while, and she’s played with mystery and seduction by Noomi Rapace in one of the best performances by a young actress in years. Whether she’s dealing with a corrupt probate officer or fending off attackers in a subway station, there’s an intensity and vulnerability to her work that’s mesmerizing. You can’t take your eyes off of her.

The film really starts to kick in, however, when she gets drawn into the disappearance the reporter she’s been investigating- Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist)- and the more unsettling facts of the case becomes clear. She takes Blomqvist down a rabbit hole with her actions and revelations that director Niels Arden Oplev shoots with intoxicating mood and energy. In a year that’s already brought us compelling thrillers like “Shutter Island,” “The Ghost Writer” and “Inception,” leave it to the Swedes the raise the bar for everyone else with a thriller like none other. Of course, I could say that about the rest of those as well.

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