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Friday, May 21, 2010

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (MAN SOM HATAR KVINNOR)

** SPOILERS **

IMDB says the alternate international title for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is "Millennium Part 1 - Men Who Hate Women." That title is apt. Based on the best selling novel by Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo might also be called "Sick Shit The Swedes Are Up To." Disgraced journalist Mikhail Blomkvist is hired by an old millionaire to solve the disappearance and possible murder of his niece 40 years ago. In the course of his investigation of the Vanger family, isolated on a forbidding frozen island in the northern part of Sweden, Blomkvist stumbles upon a lurid history of Nazism, ritual murder, serial killing, anti-Semitism, torture porn, rape, incest, and licorice. (I'm only kidding about the licorice.) Blomkvist is aided by mysterious, inked up, Doc Martin-wearing Goth hacker Lisbeth Salander, the titular Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, who's got her own problems. Boy, does she. Salander's own life story mirrors a lot of the sordid happenings of the main Vanger investigation; her subplot starts off pretty fucking twisted with physical assaults, sodomy, rape - all kinds of woman hating atrocities. Though an entertaining and well-made whodunit, the frankness of the pure evil from the men who hate women on display in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is genuinely unsettling. Hannibal Lecter wouldn't do some of the heinous stuff these evil Swedes perpetrate, and Jigsaw from Saw would cover his puppet's eyes at some of the depraved goings-on. The acting all around is very good.  Strong performances from the leads, Michael Nyqvist as Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as Salander, make up for the film's glossing over the intricate character details in the novel. Julia Sporre as young Harriet Vanger in the flashbacks provides the beautiful blonde Swedish girl one goes into a movie like this expecting to see. 

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