The girl with the dragon tattoo

Last Updated: April 6, 2012By Tags: , ,

Following drumbeats, Niels Arden Oplev’s “The Girl with the dragon tattoo” opened last May on thousands of European screens, and to wide acclaim. This week, North America finally gets to see it for the first time. For once, the hype isn’t hype. The film, based on the first of the Stieg Larsson Swedish thriller trilogy, is a miracle of taunt filmmaking and perfect casting. Clocking in at two hours and twenty minutes, it’s still far too short as you want it to go on and on.

Investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nykvist) has just been sentenced to a three-months jail stint for having written about a financier’s offshore tax shelters. Still free while waiting for the set date, he is contacted by an industry tycoon, now retired and reclusive, who wants the journalist, now admired by the public for his ethics and professionalism, to see if he can find clues to the forty-year old unsolved murder of the tycoon’s niece. Blomkvist is helped in the strange quest on a strange island by a troubled girl, a goth hacker with piercings and tattoos, played by the absolutely extraordinary Noomi Rapace.

The story would be too complicated to describe here and you will see the film anyway. Enough to say that for the duration you will be kept on the edge of your seat and reel under unsavory revelations and incredible twists. Hurry up, though, before the American version— already in the works, industry buzz has it—ruins it for everyone.

There’s already a producer attached, (Scott Rudin), a director being discussed (David Fincher) and rumors circulating about who might play the female lead, Lisbeth Salander (filmgoers familiar with the Swedish version of “Insomnia” will remember the letdown with Al Pacino in the main role of the American rendition. These Scandinavian thrillers, all the rage in Europe, definitely lose their edge when crossing the Atlantic).

One consolation is that the two remaining Stieg Larsson novels are also being adapted. What a shame that the author didn’t live to see them—or the runaway success of the novels. He died in 2004, a few months before the first novel, on which this movie is based, was published. But he now definitely lives on in glory with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”