Danny and I watched this movie from Netflix last week. I am glad we did not go see it on the big theater screen. A few scenes were quite disturbing enough on our little non-HD television.
This movie is set in Sweden, based on a novel, which Danny read, by Stieg Larsson. The subtitles are easy to read; the Swedish language is not spoken rapidly.
The plot (a disgraced financial journalist is hired by a wealthy, powerful family patriarch to find his beloved niece who has been missing for 40 years) seems simple and unassuming enough, interwoven with an appalling subplot involving an abused, Goth internet hacker extraordinaire on parole. However, there is nothing simple about this movie. The Swedish countryside is gorgeous and seemingly vast. The remaining family members residing on an isolated island are part of a hugely dysfunctional group with abhorrent secrets.
I think what struck me most astoundingly was the incongruity of the pretty countryside and its pale inhabitants with the vicious and revolting actions of the characters. Whenever I thought of Sweden before this movie, I visualized ice, snow, blonds, purity, winter Olympic athletes, good government, nudists, little crime, and people who had their act together. This movie and book shattered that naive impression. Crime exists everywhere…I know, this is just a movie, just a book, but it assailed my sense of well-being. I just never thought of Sweden as a violent place.
Obviously, after viewing this movie, I do not know Sweden at all. Perhaps the length of time its citizens spend surrounded by frigid temperatures and grayness affect their psyches, but this country is not the unique wonderland I have presumed my whole life. Within it can be found bullies, freaks, dysfunction, murder, and writers who can imagine horrible acts of inhumanity.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was quite a movie to say the least, but not for the faint-hearted. Though well-written, directed, and acted, I do not know many people to whom I would recommend it.
Rating: 4 stars