Cult Film Corner: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)

So we find our way to the third movie in my Cult Film Corner hacking special – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Mikael Blomkvist (Mikael Nyqvist) is a brilliant journalist for news magazine Millennium. Opening in court, where he is charged with libel after being set-up in his latest investigation into corporate corruption, Blomkvist is convicted of libel and sentenced to three months in prison. His reputation in tatters, he resigns from Millennium and wonders what to do with his career until he’s approached by the lawyer of the powerful Vanger Group. Mikael is invited to meet with former head of the Vanger Group, Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube). There Blomkvist is told of Henrik’s niece, Harriet, and how she disappeared on one fateful day in 1966. Henrik believes that Harriet was murdered, and every year after her disappearance for his birthday he has received a pressed flower from a different place in the world, taunting him. Henrik asks Mikael to look into the investigation just one more time, to discover what happened to Harriet.

Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is an anti-social, tattooed and pierced, 24 year old with a troubled past, but a natural gift for investigation and an amazing talent for hacking. Working for a security firm, she is asked to use her abilities to investigate Blomkvist for the Vanger’s, upon which she develops a keen interest in him and the Harriet Vanger case. Eventually our two heroes meet to investigate the case together, but not before an unfortunate incident on the subway sees Lisbeth’s beloved MacBook is broken. Things go from bad to worse when her caring and understanding guardian suffers a stroke and is replaced by manipulative and bullying Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson)…

There’s no two ways about it, at times The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a brutal, violent, and shocking film. Originally titled Men Who Hate Women in writer Stieg Larsson’s native land, it’s not hard to understand why. Touching upon Nazism, sadism, rape, incest, and ritual murder, the sprawling convoluted story is held together by the central performances of Nyqvist and Rapace. Nyqvist is cool, calm, collected, and caring centre of the film, his open and naturalistic performance helping to shield you from the more horrific elements of the story.

It’s been said by better people than me, but Rapace is a revelation as Salander. She is the reason why you hang around for the two and half hour running time. It’s a star-making turn, as evidenced by the roles in the latest Sherlock Holmes, and Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus. Almost perfectly cast as Lisbeth (she’s slightly taller than the description in the book), Rapace brings a humanity to the character I find lacking in the book. Emotionally distant, with an undercurrent of rage, one look into Noomi’s big brown eyes conveys more thought and emotion than any of the petulant, reactionary descriptions used by Larsson. Her performance draws you in, only for the character to push you away.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a brilliantly brutal thriller, with a bravura performance from Rapace. Watch it now before Fincher’s version attempts to steamroller it out of public consciousness.

More Reviews:

Troll Hunter

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger

Tron

Hackers

WarGames

Super 8

The Parallax View

Cowboys And Aliens

Swamp Thing

X-Men First Class

The Human Centipede

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

More The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo News:

Fincher’s The Girl With Dragon Tattoo Full Length Trailer Released

Muppets Trailer – The Pig with The Froggy Tattoo

Does The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Have A Secret Production Blog On Tumblr?

Bjorn’s Top Ten Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Superhero Hotties

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Character Profiles Revealed

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