Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

 

I walked into the cinema with no idea about what would follow, after all I have never read the novels on which this movie adaptation is based – though I have seen copies of the novels in every bookstore, and heard through friends and family members about this amazing new series by Stieg Larsson, who tragically died shortly after completing the novels.

I was prepared for a violent crime thriller, and was expecting to be amazed with what followed, judging the rave reviews that the novel had received from every media and family reviewer I had heard.

This Swedish foreign language film starts with an intriguing story, a disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist), whose career has been thrown into turmoil after attempting to expose the corruption of a Swedish business tycoon

He is then approached by the reclusive and wealthy Henrik Vagner, the ex-CEO of the wealthy Vagner Group. Vagner wants Mikael to investigate the 40-year-old mystery of his niece, Harriet, who disappeared from the family home during an annual business meeting, which gathered together the twisted Vagner family.

The film intertwines Mikael’s crime story with that of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), who to me looked extremely emo. She is a tattooed, pierced and reclusive computer hacker, with a photographic memory and a mysterious past that apparently involves the police, as a sadistic so-called ‘legal guardian’ runs her finances.

It was at this point that I began to understand the novels Swedish title – Men Who Hate Women – which is obviously a far less marketable title then the intriguing Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
While the film takes some time to establish setting, character and the loose threads of plot, the movie is immediately intriguing, deep and unlike any other crime movie I have watched before – the characters are deep and realistic, even when some are revealed to have committed atrocious acts of violence, they are not the caricatures of evil that tends to be presented in crime movies.

However, the depth of the characters and the intrigue of the brilliantly crafted plot cannot distract from the gruesome violence that occurs throughout the film. As a seasoned horror movie buff I had not gone in expecting to be more then usually shocked by the gore and violence that I would be witnessing. I was wrong.

The movie contains the most horrifying scene I can remember witnessing in a film, the brutal and extended on-screen rape of one of the main characters.  There were sections of the scene I could not bring myself to watch, which I haven’t done since I was 4 and watched Gaston stab the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.

However shocking and violent it may be, the film has proven extremely popular in Europe, and has led to speculation of a Hollywood remake. I have my doubts that Hollywood is up to the task, this is shocking, brilliant and violently confronting film, that asks dark questions about misogyny, corporate corruption and the lingering presence of the dark taint left by Nazism. And it doesn’t provide a safe, comforting or definite answer to any of them.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is released nationally on March 25

Rated MA 15+

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