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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

June 27, 2010

Last night MrsDoF and I went to The Normal Theater to see Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, an awesome mystery-thriller set in Sweden.  The main characters (Salander and Blomkvist) are on the trail of a rapist/serial murderer, or so they come to believe. I read several reviews after seeing it, and they all focus on the excellent storytelling, the intensity and plot twists.  None of them seemed to be able to say right out that it just might be too much for anyone who had experienced personal assault, so I will. 

I guess It’s really hard to write without revealing too much – that’s part of the movie reviewer’s craft.  Not being a professional movie reviewer, I won’t try, except to say that Salandar wouldn’t really be the safest target for an aspiring rapist.  At about 90 lbs dripping wet she may not look like much, but she has an exceptional talent for comeuppance.

The movie begins with a wealthy industrialist receiving a pressed flower in the mail on his birthday.  He believes it is, like the 39 previous ones he has received, his niece’s killer, taunting him.  He hires a famous journalist (Blomkvist) to delve into the case and bring him some closure before he dies.  Journalists are accustomed to working on deadline, and Blomkvist has only six months to resolve 40 years of investigation, before he must himself go to prison for a libel case that he lost.  He crosses paths with a hacker (Salander) and they begin unwrapping the past, which turns out to be very much horrifyingly present.

It’s the first of a trilogy.  I will be seeing the rest of the trilogy.  I will not bother with the inevitable lame Hollywood remakes.


  • We left the theater devising a short list of people who should definitely see this movie.  And who probably shouldn’t.

  • The original title was Men Who Hate Women.  There’s more than one horrible bad guy in this film, and they’re not all connected. 
  • One thing the movie got right is that there’s only so much enhancement you can get from a blurry, degraded photo.
  • The last two of the three novels on which the trilogy is based, were published posthumously.
  • You just have to see a few foreign mystery thrillers to understand what a bad job Hollywood usually does in that genre.
  • The film is in Swedish with English subtitles.  Give me that any day over dubbed-in translations.  Much of the emotional content of a scene is in the voice, independent of language.
  • If Swedish white-collar prisons really are anything like the one in the film, sign me up for a six-month stay.
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ray
    June 27, 2010 at 11:11 | #1

    I was in the middle of reading the book when the movie showed at our local arts theatre a couple of months ago, and so decided to wait until it’s available on DVD or to stream from Netflix (which, I note is just 9 days from now). The book is excellent, and I’m told the movie is very true to it. I’ve now started the second book in the series, and am trying to read it slowly so as to make it last, since there will only ever be the three. Reading slowly, or at least a limited amount each day, is an interesting challenge when you lose yourself in it – I’m fairly confident I’ll fail miserably.

  2. June 27, 2010 at 11:42 | #2

    Thanks for the heads up.  We watched (library loan) Motorcycle Diaries last night.  Highly recommended, if you haven’t seen it yet.

  3. Ray
    July 10, 2010 at 17:11 | #3

    I watched the movie via Netflix stream last night, and although it was good, and exceptionally faithful to the book, you *must* read the book to get a lot more depth.

    I was also happy to note (on IMDB) that the other two stories in the series were completed last year. They are already on my Netflix queue.

    I understand that US versions are being made, or are at least planned. I rather doubt I’ll bother with them.

  4. July 15, 2010 at 21:28 | #4

    Just watched (Redbox) … Wow.

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