The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

By Matt Prigge
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 16, 2010

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Opens Fri., March 19

In a world that's never lacking in crime fiction, it's important for writers to distinguish their work with original, perhaps even gimmicky seekers of justice. But the late Stieg Larsson, author of the best-seller-turned-movie The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, went a bit too far. It's almost as though he chose his pair of quasi-amateur sleuths out of a hat filled with oddball types: disgraced journalist meets aggressvely pierced punk chick! The former, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), prison-bound after an investigation of corporate coruption resulted in a libel suit, is offered a delay in his sentence on one proviso: He must solve the 40-year-old disappearance of a former CEO¹s (Sven-Bertil Taube) 16-year-old great-niece. He's joined by the latter, an anarchist-goth hacker whose stony mien is the
result of a lifetime of abuse by the rich and powerful. Their discoveries turn up the usual batch of serial killers, secretive elites and former Nazis.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was the first in Larsson's "Millenium" trilogy, whose other installments were also turned into movies that played to Swedish movie houses last year.

It's not difficult to see why only this first episode was picked up for American distribution. Overly unusual protagonists and the requisite miserable Swedish locations aside, this is standard detective stuff- an episode of Cold Case with subtitles and tits, inexplicably Stretch Armstronged out to a near-epic 152 minutes.

There are attempts at importance. Like the book, the film's directly translated (and decidedly less marketable) title is Men Who Hate Women. But the idea of mysogyny, acted upon by a dying-out breed of aging men, is more a plot point than thematic concern- an attempt to suggest there is more to Dragon Tattoo than there really is. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev, it's the kind of thing whose future chapters you'd see on TV, not on a big screen, if you'd bother to see it at all.

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