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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Swedish Delight

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Swedish film that’s already a box-office smash in Europe is finally coming to America — and it couldn’t be too soon. Danish Director Niels Arden Oplev masterfully paints the late Steig Larrson’s first novel of his Millennium Trilogy for the screen. The thriller is ripe with mystery, intrigue, and enough suspense that you’ll be gripping your armrest in anticipation.

This first story chronicles journalist Mikael Blomkvist’s (Michael Nyqvist) search for a missing woman, presumed dead. Recently accused and charged with libel by a prominent Swedish businessman, Blomkvist is sentenced to jail time despite his insistence that he’s a patsy. With time to spare before he needs to serve his sentence, he is hired by Henrik Vanger, the former CEO of the wealthy and powerful Vanger Group to find the murderer of his niece, Helen, who went missing nearly 40 years ago.

Of course the case has been opened and reopened to no avail but the aging Henrik has one final hope in Blomkvist. As Blomkvist begins investigating the “evil” Vanger family, as Henrik describes them, he becomes enraptured in something he wasn’t prepared for. Luckily, an intelligent, yet socially inept computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), signs on to help.

Lisbeth is the character of intrigue for this story. Dressed head to toe in black, piercings and tattoos, her past is murky. She seems reluctant for human connection yet her and Mikael still form a sort of bond. What she lacks in social skills, she easily makes up for in intelligence. She’s the perfect compliment to Mikael, with strong computer and analytical skills to his amateur detective prowess.

To say much more about the story would rob you the experience of the ride. At the heart of this film is the search for Helen, Henrik’s niece. However it sets up the characters of Mikael and Lisbeth who return for the rest of the series as it delves deeper into who they are, especially Lisbeth.

Of course, this is only the first part and questions remain lingering, so we can only hope the second part crosses the Atlantic soon. Outside of the continuation of these characters, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is still an engaging and thrilling enough film to wholeheartedly seek out.