January 1, 2010 -- Very few murder mysteries are as dark as this one. Even though any murder mystery is about the same basic thing, most of them avoid the more disturbing aspects of the act itself and the mind behind it. “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” is a virtual horror house of human depravities, bigotry and crimes ranging from genocide, rape and incest to murder most foul. Fortunately, there is also some light in this movie to offset all that darkness, love, intelligence, resilience and the courage to oppose evil.
The heroes of this story are a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) and a Goth computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). Mikael has just lost a criminal libel case and is due to go to jail in six months. Salander is hired to investigate the case and her finding is that Mikael is innocent. He has been set up. On that basis, Mikael is offered an unusual job during his six months of freedom. He is hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate a 40-year-old murder for lots of money. He becomes interested in the case, and so does Salander, who hacks into his computer and later helps him with the case. The two make a good team, and they start to make progress far beyond the original police investigation. They find that the case is tied Nazis and a series of murders that date back nearly 60 years. The murderer discovers the two investigators are getting close and decides to take action. The film gets very intense.
This is not for the faint of heart, or those who oppose such immoral acts depicted on the screen. This film has a very brutal and explicit rape scene and another disturbing sex scene where an adult authority figure misuses his power to force a young girl to perform a demeaning sexual act for his pleasure. Salander is an odd character. She is brutally raped, physically attacked and there is a pattern of family abuse that goes back to her childhood. Despite all that, she is a functioning adult holding down a job and is able to be intimate with Mikael in her own way and on her own terms. Despite her mental problems, or perhaps because of them, she is able to stand up for herself and take action against some dangerous evildoers. In a way, she is like the famous film character Dirty Harry Callahan. She dispenses her own brand of brutal justice and makes no apologies for this. I can't think of another film character quite like her. She is a unique anti-hero. This film rates a B.
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