The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie poster
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie poster

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Movie Review

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In lieu of an American remake by David Fincher in the near future, I decided it was about time to watch the Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which has grossed over $100 million worldwide. The movie only received a limited release in the United States, but it's now available on Netflix Instant Play, DVD and Blu-Ray. It's also well worth the two-and-a-half-hour investment.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is about a journalist named Mikael (Michael Nyqvist) who has been sentenced to three months in prison for something he didn't do and a young former convict named Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) who is just trying to make a living - by hacking computers. By a variety of circumstances, both are lured to a 40-year old case involving the disappearance of a teenage girl and granddaughter of one of Sweden's most prestigious families. The two team up, but the deeper they dig the more attention they receive, including that of a deadly killer.

Despite the rave reviews, I knew very little about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo before watching it. The movie met the high expectations I had for it. Suspenseful, mysterious and dark, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an intriguing piece of work by Niels Arden Oplev, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson.

Nyqvist and especially Rapace turn in strong performances. Their characters are extremely flawed but likable; the actors embrace them fully, capitalizing on every minute nuance possible. Coupled with a powerful screenplay that holds little back (rape, sexual abuse and murder), the actors have made a huge first step onto the global stage.

The movie's only flaw is the so-so direction by Oplev; the movie looks good, but the cinematography and camerawork feel cheap at times. The production quality, while typically still very good, makes me curious to see what Fincher will do with the material. I'm typically not a proponent of remakes of modern-day foreign films, but Fincher's flare could complement the story.

Still, despite some cheap-looking scenes, the movie looks good for the most part.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is dark and disturbing, but it's an alluring mystery that gets better as it goes along. Don't be scared of subtitles; this movie is well worth it.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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