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THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009)


Director: Niels Arden Oplev

Writers: Nikolaj Arcel (screenplay), Rasmus Heisterberg (screenplay)
Stieg Larsson (novel)

Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber, Peter Andersson, Marika Lagercrantz, Ingvar Hirdwall, Björn Granath and Ewa Fröling...

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): R (disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity and language)

Runtime: 152 min

Genres: Crime/Mystery

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) portrays a journalist hired by the elder Vanger to investigate the disappearance of his niece, Harriet Vanger (Ewa Fröling) who vanished from the family compound (an island with only one causeway leading in or out) 40 years ago. Vanger believes that she was murdered by one of his own family members even though her body has never been found. He wants to know the truth before he dies.

Blomkvist is aided in his search by Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) a tattooed goth-like young computer hacker, with serious issues of her own.

Dark family secrets begin to unravel when Lisbeth discovers a link between several other young women who were brutally murdered and the Vangers. The more the two pursue the trail of the missing Harriet Vanger, the more dangerous it becomes. Soon, both of their lives are in jeopardy yet they are far from knowing the whole truth.

Based on the novel by Steig Larsson, part of a trilogy, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a riveting story although the pacing is slow at times. There are also several disturbing rape scenes. The filming and landscape are breath taking. The casting is excellent.

Originally, the trilogy was filmed over a year and a half and shown as a mini-series. THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS' NEST were the second and third books in the trilogy. Unfortunately, in order to release the three as movies, considerable cutting was required. (Most notably from the second and third installments.) A change of directors and lower production values also hinder the second and third "movie" versions.

Hollywood, in its usual copycat frame of mind, has decided to make an American version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for presumably a chance to cash in on the popularity of the books and original film version. Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame, is said to be cast in the role of Mikael Blomkvist, the investigative journalist. The scheduled release date for the American version is December, 2011.

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