The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie review: Forty 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 beloved 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 (Michael Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) 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 themselves.
The buzz: Based on the international best-seller by late novelist Stieg Larsson, “Dragon Tattoo” is the first story in the “Millennium Trilogy,” which tracks the exploits of Blomkvist and Salander. All three tales were filmed back-to-back and they’ve become big hits in Europe, with Rapace earning a European Film Award nomination for her breakthrough performance. The next two movies (“The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”) are due out later this year in the U.S. and there’s talk that David Fincher may direct a Hollywood version of “Dragon Tattoo.”
The verdict: Like a respectable TV pilot, “Dragon Tattoo” lays the groundwork for an intriguing series and succeeds best in introducing its key characters. Nyqvist and especially Rapace craft compelling mystery heroes with interesting secrets of their own, while their clashing looks and behavior make for an odd couple with unconventional chemistry. Director Niels Arden Oplev brings a simple visual style to the dense story, trusting the narrative to sweep up the audience, but doesn’t entirely succeed. The use of familiar mystery elements likely played better on the page than it does on screen—the two and a half hour film occasionally drags and doesn’t always feel fresh. The lurid sexuality may also keep some viewers away, as will competition from Roman Polanski’s superior adult mystery “The Ghost Writer.” No matter, the sequels will arrive regardless, and those who do see “Dragon Tattoo” should be interested enough to find out what happens next. Source: Metromix
Box Office: The film grossed more than $9 million in North America in a limited release of 202 theaters. The total gross worldwide is $104,150,493.