The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

girl with the dragon tattoo poster 2009 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Lisbeth Salander, good acting, nice looking

Some plot holes, Blomkvist kind of generic

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Studio: Yellow Bird/Music Box Films

Genre(s): Mystery/Suspense/Drama

Release Date(s): February 27, 2009

MPAA Rating: R

girl with the dragon tattoo sven bertil taube michael nyqvist

Trust me…this will be easy!

Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is ordered to jail after being found guilty of libel in his journalism magazine Millennium article against Hans-Erik Wennerstrom (Stefan Sauk).  Disgraced, Blomkvist is facing jail when he is contacted by Henry Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) who reveal he needs his help…in exchange for help clearing his name.  Blomkvist finds himself sucked into a story of secret family history, lies, and murder.  With the help of a reclusive hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), Blomkvist sets out to solve the disappearance of Harriet Vanger.  The search turns dangerous as Blomkvist and Salander get closer to the truth…will they find it in time?

girl with the dragon tattoo rape scene lisbeth salander noomi rapace peter andersson

You like it rough? That I can work with!

Directed by Neils Arden Oplev, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is known in Sweden as Män som hatar kvinnor (Men Who Hate Women).  The film adapts the hit 2005 novel by Stieg Larsson.  The film was well received by critics and a financial success both in Sweden and worldwide.

Around 2010, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was everywhere.  Everyone seemed to be reading the books and a new American version of the film was already getting big buzz.  Despite this, the movie had already been adapted and many people skipped it (and the sequels) in the U.S. because they wanted the Americanized version.  While I’ll agree both versions have merit, the original version has its own style and class.

girl with the dragon tattoo cast

I think it was one of you…in the study…with a lead pipe

It isn’t necessarily the mystery that really makes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo good (in fact I have some problems with the mystery).  What makes the movie (and novel) work is Salander.  Her character is bizarre and extreme but at the same time there is something believable about her.  Noomi Rapace does a great job portraying the damaged Salander and helps boost the performance of Michael Nyqvist (Blomkvist I feel is kind of a flat generic character as he is).

The movie is skillfully directed and does really feel like The Silence of the Lambs…Swedish style.  It is very slow paced and does kind of linger a bit too long at the end (after the essential mystery is solved).  I don’t necessarily love how the flashbacks were handled visually, but they aren’t distracting enough to cause a problem with the movie as a whole (the other films in the series were already scheduled to be released the same year so you didn’t have to wait long to see what they meant).

girl with the dragon tattoo ending mikael blomkvist michael nyqvist peter haber

I’m beginning to reconsider that whole “go to prison” thing…where can I sign up for that?

There is a problem (in my opinion) with the plot.  ******Spoiler Alert******  Even when reading the novel, I never understood how the initial thing that spurred Henry Vanger to hire Blomkvist really wasn’t ever considered another way.  Vanger was being sent preserved flowers, yearly, from all over the world.  This is something that his niece Harriet had done for him but he continued to get the flowers after the death.  I immediately thought “oh, she’s still alive and sending the flowers”, but apparently no one else in the entire movie (and they are all supposed to be relatively smart…Lisbeth is a genius) thought of this?  It kind of reminded me of the movie Mystic River that sets up a similar mystery at the start with an obvious loophole so it kind of negated much of the rest of the movie…they backfill it with a mystery about a serial killer but the core mystery isn’t much of a mystery.

That being said, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is still strong and enjoyable.  It is extremely violent at points and goes into some very dark areas.  It is interesting to watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo back-to-back with David Fincher’s version which was released in 2011.  It is like watching two auteurs interpret a book in a different way.  If you want to see the sequels however, you’ll need to watch this version since Fincher’s died at the gate and is only a stand-alone movie.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire (also released in 2009).

Related Links:

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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