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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgård, Christopher Plummer
Director: David Fincher
Running Time: 160 minutes



Synopsis: (from the book cover)

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.

It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden . . . and about her octogenarian uncle, determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder.

It’s about Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently at the wrong end of a libel case, hired to get to the bottom of Harriet’s disappearance . . . and about Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius hacker possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age—and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness to go with it—who assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, astonishing corruption in the highest echelons of Swedish industrialism—and an unexpected connection between themselves.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo brings to life Steig Larsson's first book of his masterful Millennium  trilogy. As the movie opens, Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song (performed by Karen O) screams into the theater, setting the pace and tone for the film. It flashes in pieces and tidbits, exciting the viewer, drawing you in tighter, as it explodes across the big screen.

Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is a disgraced journalist caught in the trap of a scheming businessman/millionaire, Hans-Erik Wennerström (Ulf Friberg), literally robbed of his career. When Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) decides to hire someone to do what he has been unable to do and needs to finish before his demise, he looks to Mikael to accomplish the daunting task, to find the murderer of his niece, Harriet Vanger (Moa Garpendal).




She went missing 40 years prior after attending a children's festival. I say it is a daunting task because all the information is 40 years old, as are the pictures, recollections, police investigation. And Henrik is sure the murderer is a close family member.




Which leads us to the mysterious island of the Vanger family stronghold, Hedeby Island. It's where all (almost all) the Vangers live in relative peace, meaning they stay away from each other. Distrust runs rampant.




During World War II, the Vangers were known for the Nazi leanings, two of the three brother were Nazi sympathizers (Gottfried {Jürgen Klein} and Harald {Per Myrberg}), though Gottfried drowns himself in a drunken fall before Harriet's (his daughter) disappearance. Henrik is disdainful of his brothers, though with the disappearance of his niece, he has but little choice other than his nephew, Martin Vanger (Stellan Skarsgård) to operate the family business which interests are wide and varied.




Mikael's task seems insurmountable, and he asked for the use of an assistant/investigator which the family lawyer Dirch Frode (Steven Berkoff) readily provides, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) a twenty-three year old ward of the state, currently being abused by newly assigned legal guardian, Nils Bjurman (Yorick van Wageningen).




She's a pierced, tattooed hacker/investigator known for her rough lifestyle and antisocial behavior, and admittedly, she has little reason to trust. Lisbeth is also a little lost, looking for an anchor, one she thinks she's found in Mikael. Together Mikael and Lisbeth piece together what might have happened, only to have reality slap them in the face, very much alive, in the here and now, and murdering still. Not everyone is who she or he appears to be, and the mystery grows.




One of the powerful lines in the movie, "I want you to help me catch the killer of women."




It will take all the skills of the rogue journalist and tattooed investigator to stay alive.

This is an amazing film that grips the viewer with the onslaught of images in the opening credits to the end of the wild ride of the movie. Twists and turns abound, danger lurks around every corner. I've read that the Sweden movie did better justice to the book, and I haven't seen the 2009 Swedish made film (but I want too). With all that said, Rooney Mara plays Lisbeth Salander, the socially different, outcast survivor to perfection and Daniel Craig (famed 007) plays Mikael Blomkvist with just the right amounts of human need, disillusionment, and vengeance. If you haven't seen this movie, it's high on my recommend list, one I'd like to see again, as well as the 2009 English captioned Swedish film of the same name, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It's a rock em, sock em, roller coaster ride. One of the best films I've seen (and I watch a lot of movies!).





Five out of Five Fairy Kisses (tempted to add 5 more!)


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