I heard a lot of positive reviews, first about the book by Steige Larsson and then the movie adaptation of the same name. However for a very long time, I just didn’t feel the urge to the urge to see it but finally after having seen it, I regret the fact that I had not seen it earlier. It is probably one of the finest thrillers to come out in a long long time. The story is refreshing and the ensemble cast is superb. Very few thrillers are actually able to surprise us all throughout and maintain the kind of grip that The Girl With Dragon Tattoo succeeds in doing. The story picks up pace with every scene and as the events unfold the plot gets thicker and thicker. The viewer is completely consumed by the narrative, the drama and the high octane action towards the end which is good enough to satisfy even the most ardent of action fans.
Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is a star investigative journalist for a magazine named Millenium who is famous for his alleged expose’. But when one of his revelations goes horribly wrong, he finds himself on the wrong side of law. He loses all his savings in a law suit and is left tarnished. It is during this period that he is thrown a life line by Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), who hires him to investigate the case of his missing nephew, Harriet Vanger, who is suspected of being murdered forty years ago. On his quest to find Harriet, Mikael is aided by Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace ), a hacker, who was hired by Henrik to watch on Mikael and who in the process developed an interest in him. The rest of the story revolves around how the duo bust open a jar of dirty secrets which remain buried for 40 years.
The film unfolds in two parts. While the story of Blomkvist unfolds in one part which shows us how he is disgraced and his subsequent visit to the Vanger’s place where he is given the offer. Lisbeth’s story inter-cuts between the basic premise of Blomkvist as we are shown her state of life and how she is constantly in sour soup with the law. She lands up with a guardian who horrifyingly rapes her in one of the most shocking rape scenes of recent times. Lisbeth does get back to her but only after she has endured her share of the oppression.
Niels Arden Oplev intricately creates an immensely engrossing yet easily understandable screenplay from Larsson’s work. This is one of those rare thrillers which can be seen again and again. Even though it is easy to comprehend, I would suggest viewers to go through multiple viewings which will help them to appreciate the true beauty and those subtle little details which you may miss the first time around. The mounting of the film is magnificent. The cinematography is breath taking and some of the shots are as good as it gets. You can easily freeze any frame from the film and use it as your computer wallpaper. The picturesque locations are stunning to watch. There are a few subplots involved which will grab you attention but will not divert you away from the basic premise. The one involving Lisbeth and her abusive guardian is a treat to watch and adds depth to the narrative. It is also what makes your heart go out for her.
The performances by the whole cast is just about perfect. Noomi and Michael Nyqvist carry the film literally on their back. While Lisbeth is one of the strongest female characters to have ever graced the screen, Michael Nyqvist’s Blomkvist is vulnerable and constantly keeps getting challenged both physically and mentally. He is even outsmarted by his opponents at a few critical junctures. His search for Harriet is given wings only when Lisbeth joins in with him. Peter Andersson as the sadistic guardian to Lisbeth has a brief appearance but makes an impact with his heinous act. Peter Haber‘s act as Martin Vanger will leave a lasting impact. It will be difficult to get into the details of the act without giving out spoilers and so I have no other option but to stop right here.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is an absorbing thriller and a potent human drama. The film wouldn’t be the same sans the vulnerability of the individuals that it is about. what is noteworthy to notice here is the amount of heart that the characters are conjured up with. The film not only looks pretty but also offers edge of the seat thrills and towards the end chills. This is the perfect example of how thrillers should be conceived and made. Highly recommended.