I was totally surprised when viewing this intense, suspenseful mystery story which had so many twists and turns and involved unusual subject matter such as bestiality, incest, unsolved murders, torture, break-ins, disappearances and family secrets. Nevertheless, I was caught up in learning the solution to the 40-year-old unsolved murder and continued viewing this Swedish film which has a cast unknown to an American audience.
Mikael Blomkvist was hired by Henrik Vanger, the patriarch of the Vanger family and the head of its lucrative business, to find out what happened to 16-year-old Harriet Vanger over 40 years ago. Mikael was given access to all of the documents which involved the investigation which had previously been dropped.
Viewers are then taken on a roller coaster ride with Mikael whose only clue is that the perpetrator of the murder/disappearance of Harriet is one of about 16 relatives pictured in an ancient family album. What is perplexing to Henrik Vanger is his receipt each year on his birthday of a beautiful drawing of a bird. He received his first one from Harriet when she was eight years old. This fact led him to hire an investigator 40 years later. Mikael is aided in his quest by the mysterious Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, who was hired by authorities to spy on the recently convicted Mikael, and who has her own personal issues to resolve.
Several red herrings are introduced to throw Mikael and the viewers off the track. The necklace worn in the present day by Harriet’s cousin Anita is thought to be the necklace worn by Harriet in her last photo extant. A few Vanger family members have Nazi leanings which casts suspicion on each of them. We are unsure for a large part of the film of where Lisbeth’s allegiance lies. All of these facts add to our bewilderment as we try to sift through their meaning.
Warning – this movie is not for the faint of heart. Violence, sex, mugging and auto chases are all given prominence in this fast-paced story which incorporates the use of computer technology and ancient company archives to track down and eventually finger the guilty party.
If you can throw aside your squeamish feelings for 2 1/2 hours, you might enjoy watching this film. I look forward to seeing the second and third films based on the Trilogy, called The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Each of these sequels, as it were, concern the characters of Lisbeth and Mikael.
It is unfortunate that author Stieg Larsson passed away before his Trilogy and the movies based on the Trilogy were published and then filmed.
Film – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo