Film Review: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"

(Music Box Films. 2 hour, 32 minutes. Not rated. Directed by Neils Arden Oplev.) Michael Nyqvist (Mikael Blomkvist), Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander), Sven-Bertil Taube (Henrik Vanger). Music by Jacob Groth.
Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, Swedish reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) is hired to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance of a wealthy businessman's niece. Lisbeth (Rapace), a hacker who is researching Mikael for a security company, uncovers a pattern that leads Mikael's investigation into a much darker place. A tense, enthralling murder mystery.

For all intents and purposes, this movie belongs to Noomi Rapace. Her character Lisbeth is one of the most compelling I've seen in a while. She's strong, smart, defiant and resourceful, all while being profoundly and deeply damaged. Rapace could have easily played her off as crazy, but she instead makes Lisbeth very sympathetic, betraying a softness just under the surface. However, Lisbeth doesn't come by her damage lightly, having to endure two very harrowing scenes of sexual assault, so be ye warned. Nyqvist does a great job as the much steadier Mikael, a tenacious hero with a welcome lack of bravado. The plot is engrossing, throwing in enough twists, turns and puzzles to keep it interesting, and making it easy to forget about the 2.5 hour running time. The slow pacing, combined with the snow-covered Swedish countryside, generates a very nice atmosphere of menace. There's already an American remake slated, but why wait for that when you could see an excellent version of the story now?
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Jared Counts

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Jared Counts moved to Houston in 1995, survived high school and college, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Houston with a degree in Communications (Media Production) and a minor in Film Studies...