The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Written by Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg based off the novel by Stieg Larsson
(number 437)

I was a bit concerned about watching this movie, as I knew there was a rape scene and I don’t like watching those… however, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the movie, and home sick with a cold which is giving me a mild euphoria (fever does that to me sometimes) so I figured today was as good a day as any to give it a watch.

I was intrigued almost straight away – the set up of the characters: disgraced journalist, violent hacker, was eloquent and managed to get me on side with both of them immediately. Mikael by showing that he had a small group of loyal supporters vs the big money of his enemy and Lisbeth by showing her being attacked senselessly in the train station and holding her own, then chasing off the gang of guys.

The story is convoluted, like all good mysteries, and the movie takes its time – it’s not that it’s slow paced, I never felt like it was dragging at all, but it’s a long movie and it doesn’t at any time feel like it’s rushing. I was drawn into these character’s lives and I was intrigued to see when they’d meet up finally. The two of them working together is one of the best partnerships I’ve seen to be honest. Respectful, trusting, complementary and razor sharp smart.

The rape scene … well, there were two really. One sort of a build up to the next, but it was brutal and unrelenting. It could have been cut a lot earlier but it instead focussed on the horror and pain of the moment, almost instantly repetition with the video Lisbeth took of it being played back. Then of course there was the third, revenge rape scene… which was almost as unpleasant, except that it’s a lot harder to feel sympathy for the victim.

Thankfully once this part of the story is played out the movie is a lot easier to watch – and Lisbeth’s reactions and manner after that are entirely believable. Noomi Rapace is epic in this, seeming to totally inhabit the character in such a way that I can’t quite feel like saying she’s acting. Michael Nyqvist is also amazing although I think he is deliberately understating things to further emphasise Lisbeth’s ‘otherness’.

In addition to an awesome story and excellent script this film is shot beautifully and the soundtrack is subtle and atomospheric. I really liked it! This is a good movie! And right there in the title it’s about a woman! Well.. it’s just nice to have a female lead okay? This list is short on them.

Does it make me love the people? Mikael is awesome, brave and unrelenting. He’s not particularly a physical man, but he puts himself into danger regardless and is dogged in solving the crime. He is respectful of Lisbeth which is something she doesn’t seem to have ever had from older males in her life. And Lisbeth? She’s so bad ass, I love her. I have a new style icon, and I want to watch the sequels pretty much only for her. Also the dragon tattoo is totally awesome.

Also Lisbeth is bi! Yay!

Bechdel test: Yes, there’s a scene where Lisbeth talks to Marten’s assistant Lindgren and a longer scene at the end where she speaks to her mother Agneta. Also Lisbeth totally saves Mikael at the climax. She saves him! Yay for trope switching!

Best line:
Lisbeth Salander: Blomkvist got the name Kalle Blomkvist when he solved a bank robbery in the 80s. He’s a very public person with no major secrets. Read the newspaper articles.
Dirch Frode: But does he have any secrets?
Lisbeth Salander: Everyone has secrets.

State of Mind: A bit traumatic to be sure, but wow. WOW. How do I always forget I like mysteries? Oh right because its tempered by my being absolutely done with stories about men killing women. Is the US version worth giving a go? Or should I just watch the sequels?

Watched movie count


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