Monday, December 26, 2011

Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I know, fannish things belong on the fan blog but's my blog and I'll post what I want! :p

I'm thinking of moving movie and book reviews over here anyway, assuming that they're more than just me going: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and babbling about the shiny. ;)

First things first: I haven't read the books. I haven't seen the Swedish films. I am coming to this only through the American version of the movie.

That being said, I will be reading the books and seeing the Swedish films as soon as the opportunity arises.

So then.

I loved this movie. Though saying that does not, perhaps, convey the depth of ALL THE FEELINGS that I have for it.

Okay, a basic overview of the movie:

Mikael Blomkvist (played by the ever delicious Daniel Craig) is the editor of Millenium magazine. He's just lost a libel suit brought against him by Wennerstrom, a wealthy businessman. In the process Blomkvist has basically been wiped out. He's lost all his money, everything. He resigns from the magazine in an attempt to distance himself from it, hoping to spare his partner Erika (played by Robin Wright, whom I also adore) and the magazine from being destroyed along with him though everyone knows that Wennerstrom won't stop until he's burned them to the ground and then salted the earth.

In the middle of all this he gets called up to a remote island by Mr. Frode, the attorney for Henrik Vanger, another very wealthy man.

Vanger wants Blomkvist to solve the 40 year old murder of his great-niece, Harriet. She disappeared one day and he is convinced that a member of the family murdered her. Blomkvist is going to turn down the job but Vanger promises him not only a lot of money, but some information that will allow him to take Wennerstrom down for good.

Under the guise of writing Henrik's memoir, Blomkvist moves into a small guest house on the island and starts to investigate. He gets nowhere fast until his daughter drops by for a visit on her way to a Bible camp and notices that the meaningless numbers in the back of Harriet's notebook are references to Bible verses from Leviticus.

Blomkvist realizes that he needs a research assistant to help him track down and figure out what these verses have to do with the women's names beside them so he goes back to Mr. Frode to ask if he knows of anyone. Frode recommends the firm that they had do the background check on Blomkvist before they hired him. Which leads Blomkvist to Lisbeth Salander - the titular girl with the dragon tattoo.

Lisbeth is different, to say the least.

Visual aides are best, so here's a pic of what she looks like in the movie:

And it's not just her fashion choices, of course. She's antisocial, rarely faces anyone directly or looks them in the eyes. And she's a genius. There's clearly been a lot of abuse at some point in her life, and she's been marginalized because of the effects that the trauma has had on her. She was declared legally incompetent as a very young girl and the state has control of her finances. Lisbeth's guardian clearly understands the truth of her situation and lets her control her own finances but early on in the movie he has a stroke and is left unable to fulfill his legal role to her.

A new guardian is assigned, and he takes a hard line with Lisbeth, giving her a monthly salary and nothing else.

Soon after that her laptop is broken and she has to ask for the money to repair it. He gives it to her after forcing her to perform fellatio on him.

A little later on she calls him, claiming to need money for rent and meets him at his apartment. He beats her, knocks her out, ties her to his bed and rapes her. What he doesn't know is that Lisbeth records the whole thing. She calls him sometime later (a few days? the timeline there isn't quite clear in the movie) and tells him she needs money for food.

Once he lets her into the apartment she tasers his ass. When he wakes up she's got him tied to the floor of his bedroom and plays the recording for him. She shoves what looks an awful lot like a cattle prod to me up his ass and proceeds to kick the living shit out of him. Then she explains how he is going to give her control of her money, he is going to write glowing reports about her and how she is adapting to 'normal' society and he is going to start getting her declared competent so that she will have true control over her life. And he is never, ever to have another woman in private with him again. Ever. Or she'll kill him.

To make sure he won't forget the rules, especially the celibacy one, she tattoos 'I AM A RAPIST PIG' in giant letters on his chest and stomach.

I have to admit, I love Lisbeth a lot. A lot a lot. Anyway...

Blomkvist convinces the security firm she works for to give him her address, which does not go over well when he just sort of shows up and politely barges his way into her apartment. He comes within a few seconds of being tased himself. Then he draws her in: he wants her to help him catch a killer of women.

They go back to the island and...well. Investigation happens, secrets are uncovered and that's all I'm saying. I won't give away the ending or the plot twists, though if you've read the book you know what happens.

The mystery aspect of the story was decent. I had my suspicions as to who the killer was, but I wasn't positive and most of the time that's all I can ask of a mystery.

There is some (obviously) graphic violence and much of it is of a sexual nature. But I don't feel as though it was done for the sake of glorifying the violence or done in an over the top splatter-fest manner.

The creepiest part for me was the killer playing Enya (Orinoco Flow) in the background as he gets ready to murder someone, but that could just be me.

The title sequence reminded me a little too much of the Bond title sequences, but that's neither here nor there.

In conclusion: the movie is well worth the time and the money to go see it.

Also, ps: I totally ship Lisbeth and Blomkvist.


  1. Wow, sounds like a good movie. I've heard others mention it so it was good to read your review. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. So I haven't read the books, seen the Swedish movie or the new one, so shame on me.

    I'm actually thinking about reading the books. If you get there before me, let me know what you think :)

  3. Susanne,

    I really enjoyed it, obviously. :)

  4. Becky,

    Yes, shame on you. Shame! *dumps bucket of shame on you and runs away*


    Eh. There're so many books and so many movies out there we can hardly be expected to read or see them all, even if people are talking and talking about them around us. We have lives, you know?

    Or, well, *looks at 2011 reading list*, *some* people have lives. ;)

    I'll let you know, but you let me know if you get to them first what you think.


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