The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—Director: Niels Arden Oplev/ (screenplay) Written by: Nikolaj Arcel & Rasmus Heisterberg/starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace
(G) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based upon the award-winning crime novel by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It was originally titled (in Swedish) Män Som Hatar Kvinnor, which translates to mean, "Men Who Hate Women.” The accuracy of the original title becomes apparent when you watch this tightly woven suspense thriller with some of the most interesting film characters and sub-themes that I’ve seen in years.
With a well-deserved R rating (there are several horrific rape scenes which establish motivation for the Lisbeth character’s actions and behavior), this film can still be viewed at the occasional theater in an unfortunately trimmed 1:43 min version. I assume (again) that the theatrical version has removed these rape scenes. We watched the 2:30 minute film as an HD download from Amazon last night and I am glad that I saw the entire, uncut film. Barbara and I were still talking about the film long into the night and into the next morning. What we have is a rare foreign-film gem. Though you must currently be willing to read the English subtitles, there is talk about recasting the film with American/name actors. I hope that U.S. producers reconsider and keep as many of the original cast as possible, especially Noomi Rapace who captivates with her grandly subdued delivery. What we have in the current form is a classic, suspense thriller of the Chinatown variety which forces you to watch with interest, first to sort out the actual “case at hand” and second to rejoice in the fact that all a suspense thriller really needs is a good story, not a bunch of good looking Hollywood stars. I have to give this one all four binoculars!
(B) This film was of the type that I both love and hate. I loved it because it was a good, old-fashioned suspense thriller that reminded me of Diabolique in its intensity. I hated it because it’s the type of film that I can’t get out of my head and shouldn’t watch right before trying to go to sleep. I have been waiting for a film like this for a long time. I wanted to see a movie that doesn’t rely on hocus pocus special effects, but has solid substance to the story. I am so relieved that the actors were not “Barbie and Ken” perfects. The actors transported me directly into this film and engaged me in answering a slew of questions from the outset. I was compelled to solve the mystery along with the characters themselves. I loved it. This was easy. Four binoculars!