In Swedish with English & Chinese Subtitles
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Peter
Haber, Ingvar Hirdvall, Marika Lagercrantz, Lena Endre, Peter
Andersson, Björn Granath
RunTime: 2 hrs 32 mins
Released By: Encore Films & GV
Rating: R21 (Sexual Violence)
Official Website: www.encorefilms.com/dragontattoo
Opening Day: 12 August 2010
years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering
on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan.
Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was
murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly
knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial
journalist Mikael Blomkvist and the tattooed, ruthless computer
hacker Lisbeth Salander to investigate.
When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number
of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin
to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger's
are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about
to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect
No, this reviewer isn’t illiterate (Why else would he be humbly penning article after article on this website, subtly forcing his opinions down on unknowing readers?), but there is something about him and books which just don’t get along. You see, what this reviewer needs to know, he gets the information from the movies he watches. The attack on Pearl Harbour? Were Kate Beckinsale, Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett somewhere dodging the bombs set off by Michael Bay? Oskar Schindler? The 1976 Tangshan earthquake? Was Feng Xiaogang somewhere making people cry with his weep a minute story? So when this reviewer hears his more intellectual friends talking about the Millennium Trilogy, he has no idea what this was about until some kind film distributor brought this movie adaptation to Singapore.
Based on an award winning crime novel by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, this movie version tells the riveting story of a journalist who is employed to search for a woman has been missing for 40 years. He is assisted by the titular character, a girl with a dragon tattoo, who is a computer hacker.
The short synopsis sums up the 152 minute movie in a few sentences. If you have read the novel, you’d know there are a lot more details that have been left out. That is intentional because, if like this reviewer, you are one who doesn’t read (you should, really – there’s nothing to be proud of when you go around telling people that you don’t read), the greatness of this movie is sitting through it and discovering the details bit by bit – yes, all two and a half hours of it.
Director Niels Arden Oplev manages to captivate his audiences with this movie like how he would with a well written novel. Minute by minute, he makes you pay attention to the plot development and character evolution like how you would flip through a book page by page. You anticipate the unfolding of the story plot like how you refuse to put down a book, because you want to find out what happens in the next chapter. Before you know it, you have finished the book, oops, we mean, movie, satisfied with the journey you have just taken with the characters.
The casting of the two main leads is spot on too. Michael Nyqvist plays the journalist who is determined to uncover a mystery that has spanned a few generations. The actor’s credible performance makes you go on this dangerous, perilous and almost fatal ride with him. There are occasions you feel his fatigue, but the power to carry on engages you. Even more commanding on screen is Noomi Rapace who plays the girl with the dragon tattoo. Her mesmerizing and compelling presence is a gem, given the uncountable sweet young things out there trying to make it big. The role requires her to go through some torturous moments, and the graphic violence may just make you squirm in your seat.
And why are we not surprised that Hollywood is going to have its own version of this Swedish movie? With Daniel Craig signing on for the role played by Nyqvist and the crucial role of the computer hacker still unknown, we can only wait with abated breath how our American friends will fare with David Fincher helming the production as director. Meanwhile, we shall await some kind distributor to bring in the second and third installments of Larsson’s trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. If they are as fascinatingly well made as this movie, then this reviewer be better off watching the movies rather than, ahem, visiting a library to pick up the books.
(The exhilarating movie grips you like how a good book will)
Review by John Li