"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" Movie Review (2010)

5/09/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, Written by Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg, 146 Minutes, Not Rated

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," or if translated directly from its original Swedish title, "Men Who Hate Women," has only recently crossed the pond to American cinemas, but it's been a relatively big hit in its native Sweden, as are the "Millenium Trilogy" of novels by Stieg Larsson, the first of which is the basis for this film.

It follows disgraced investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), who is hired by a wealthy industrialist to uncover the truth behind an unsolved disappearance that happened decades earlier--that of his niece, Harriet. At first in over his head, Mikael eventually enlists the help of a secretive but highly intelligent young computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). In the process of investigating the missing woman and understanding the truth of the industrialist's mysterious family, the duo become very close and begin fixing their own lives as well.

For a film that became so popular so quickly, it's relatively typical stuff. It's a by-the-book detective story, and it's stretched pretty thin by a lot of exposition and stuff early in the film, before Mikael and Lisbeth team up. Some of it goes to good use--we get a great feel for the characters before the meat of the plot gets going. But then there are moments, such as the scene where Lisbeth is assaulted by her sort-of parole officer. It's like a scene straight of "Irreversible," and despite having a general connection to one of the main points of the film (some men hate women and Lisbeth is opposed to that), it's executed in a way that makes it seem like it was included to be edgy instead of important.

Lisbeth herself is rather aggravating, as well--Rapace's performance is just fine, but the character's punk-goth style comes off as rather silly and the whole hacker thing seems pulled straight out of a bad '90s movie. At the very least, they could have used fake hacking techniques to explain how she was doing what she was doing, but this is movie land, where typing really fast allows you to hack, decrypt, encrypt, etc., whatever you want whenever you want. The fact that the entire trilogy of novels somehow finds a way to revolve around Lisbeth and her past is rather baffling.

That's not to write off the film entirely. It may be by-the-book, but it's a fair bit of fun and it's pretty thrilling. And as mysteries go, the one here manages to work without plot contrivances or retconning while still managing to remain unpredictable. The resolution of the whole thing is especially brilliant.

The direction is also quite solid, and though Niels Arden Oplev eventually backed out of directing the two sequels, he puts forth a lot of effort and style here.

Overall, the film was bound to be overhyped, what with the popular novels and generally Hollywoodized style. It's not unlike "Let the Right One In" in that way. But despite its excessive length and bizarre attempts at "risky" plot devices, it's pretty good entertainment. Well worth the watch, and I can see its sequels (not yet released in the States, but they're on their way) being worth seeing as well.

Grade: B-

View the trailer for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" below. What are your thoughts of the movie?

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes


  1. Tom Graczkowski said...

    Great! It's coming out on DVD in four days so I will see it.

  2. Tom Graczkowski said...

    Great! It's coming out on DVD in four days so I will check it out.