The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Man Som Hatar Kvinnor)
The first of Stieg Laarson’s deservedly successful millennium thrillers receives faithful but labourious film treatment.
When investigative journalist Mikhael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) ends up the wrong end of a libel case brought by a Swedish industrialist, his career looks all washed up. His white knight turns out to be another industrialist Henrik Vanger the aging former CEO of a group of companies owned by his wealthy but dysfunctional family. Vanger wants Blomkvist to investigate the 40-year-old disappearance of his beloved great niece. Blomkvist’s careful and thorough investigations get nowhere until the intervention of a mysterious gothic Pippi Longstocking called Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace).
Produced like its two now completed forthcoming sequels by Swedish TV and film production company Yellow Bird (also responsible for the Swedish and English language versions of Wallander), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or more to the point the film’s adapters (Scando screenwriting team Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg) certainly believe in taking the scenic route. So inclusive and reverential is their approach to Laarson’s original text that the film actually begins to feel as padded as an episode of Midsomer Murders. But with no John Nettles in sight (maybe in the English language remake sited for release in 2012), this solidly made thriller has its charms. Swedish acting royalty Nykvist and undoubted rising star Rapace make a compelling and oddball detective team, and celebrated TV film director Niels Arden Oplev maintains a suitably downbeat and hard boiled tone throughout the many twists and turns.
General release from Fri 12 Feb.