A film from Sweden: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
I know I'm late to the party on this one: I've not read the books (though I have one of them on my shelf), seen the original films, or seen the remake. In fact, for such a pop-culture saturated story, all I really knew going in was that there was a young woman character who was a hacker.
The plot follows a reporter, Mikael, who has just come off of a guilty sentence for slandering a major business tycoon. Mikael has been framed, but there's nothing he can do about it and is preparing to serve a short prison sentence. Before he goes to prison, Mikael is summoned to the home of a man named Henrik. Back in the 1960s, Henrik's niece, Harriet, went missing. Every year since then, Henrik has received framed flowers in the mail, taunting mementos from her killer. Henrik wants Mikael to take one last attempt at the case before Henrik dies, which involves looking into Henrik's family, a sprawling group of people with various sordid pasts (including Nazism).
Eventually along for the ride with Mikael is Lisbeth, a young woman who works as a hacker for a security company. Originally hired to investigate Mikael, Lisbeth gets increasingly interested into his investigation into Harriet's disappearance, and ends up joining Mikael in his investigation after she discovers a major clue about the case.
Overall I thought that this was a pretty great movie. This is the kind of mystery that I enjoy: one where people see someone in a photo with a camera and track that person down to get photos of the same scene from a different angle. There's a lot of interesting investigation, and even if certain elements are a bit far-fetched, it all works in the context of the intense world of this larger-than-life family.
The characters of Lisbeth and Mikael are both appealing, though Lisbeth is the more cinematic, impactful character. We are given glimpses of a troubled past, and the introduction to her character largely involves a pretty horrific situation she's in that involves a sadistic parole officer who holds power over her. The whole "young sexy woman becomes involved with older, average looking dude" is an eye-rolling trope, but Lisbeth's rocky, abusive past with men in fatherly positions over her give an understandable context as to why Lisbeth would find the smart, determined, but also unthreatening Mikael appealing.
And as a character note, I love how fit Noomi Rapace got for this role. We several times see Lisbeth in physical conflict with men, and when we see Lisbeth topless (or otherwise catch glimpses of her shoulders and chest), it makes those scenes ten times more believeable. She is jacked
. Too often, "strong" women in movies are simply lean and toned. But when you see Rapace in this film, it recontextualizes what a strong woman can look like on screen. It's obvious why more women don't look this way in movies that need their sex appeal (because this type of strength is more masculine looking), but I loved it.
The only downside for me was the
Anyone seen both versions? Is the American remake enough of its own thing to merit a watch? And if you have seen both, is the