Danny read all three of Stieg Larsson’s books – THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST, and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE – which are about Lisbeth Salander, a Swedish computer genius/hacker with a very damaged psyche. I was going to read them, but after we saw the Swedish/Danish, subtitled film earlier this year, I decided not to subject myself to so much abhorrent brutality. It was a very stark and gripping drama starring Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. We were interested in comparing the two films…
The English-language version stars Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist charged with libel. To escape the pressure and press, Mikael accepts the offer of wealthy tycoon Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance of his beloved niece, Harriet. The entire family lives in purposeful isolation on an island, in a compound of various large homes. Unbeknownst to Blomkvist, Vanger had him thoroughly checked out by Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) before bringing him to the island. The several family members of the dynasty remaining do not speak to each other for one reason or another, and the investigation into Harriet’s case does not sit well with most of them. When Mikael learns that he has been investigated, he seeks out Lisbeth and asks for her expert help in finding a serial killer of women, which is part of what he has turned up.
There are basically two plots in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:” 1)the money-is-no-object investigation; and 2)Lisbeth’s life and dreadful rape. The deep delving for information reveals a very dysfunctional wealthy family (of course), including some Nazis, incest, and corruption, as well as the evidence Blomkvist needs to clear his name and regain his reputation. The Swedish version of nudity and rape was more graphic – it took me aback – than this English-language one, although it comes pretty close. (If you like that kind of stuff, you should read the books.) The winter scenery is beautiful, but the sun does not shine much. No one seems to wear big coats or jackets, let alone gloves, to stay warm.
In the Swedish film, Harriet’s investigation ends as it does in the book. The English version does not. Both movies are quite intense.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.