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Foreign Film Review - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


The Bottom Line

Brilliantly portrayed action/horror film based on the first book of the Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson. This foreign version is spoken in Swedish and has English subtitles, which are easy to keep up with. I wouldn't recommend the books or the movie to anyone who is under 18 or is overly sensitive to graphic depictions of physical and sexual violence.


  • Wonderful adaptation of the book by Stieg Larsson
  • Brilliant cast portray their characters accurately
  • Very few details omitted
  • Edge-of-your-seat suspense and action film; enjoyable even if you haven't read the book


  • A few minor omissions and inaccuracies compared with the book


  • You basically get four stories in one, the first being the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who makes a critical mistake and faces jail time for it.
  • The second story is of Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant computer hacker/sociopath whose "guardian", Nils Bjurman, dominates and violates her until she exacts her revenge.
  • The third story is of the well-known Vanger family, which holds a dark and disturbing secret. Mikael Blomkvist is hired to discover which family member murdered Harriet Vanger.
  • The fourth story is how Blomkvist and Salander end up working together on the Vanger case and then find themselves in mortal danger the closer they get to discovering the truth.

Guide Review - Foreign Film Review - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I’ve read the first two books of the Millennium Trilogy, and I have to say that I haven’t been this excited about a book series since Harry Potter. I just got the third book and I can’t wait to start reading it, but I’ve also been very interested in seeing the film versions and had been considering purchasing the DVDs. And then a friend of mine discovered that a local arts theater was actually playing the movie on the big screen, so we went to see it the very next day.

Oftentimes, when you see a film that’s based on a favorite book, the results are disappointing. They cut out a lot of important details, take certain liberties with the plot lines, choose horrible actors, and basically mutilate something you love in print. I’m happy to say that this was not the case with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Casting: The most important character, Lisbeth Salander, was brilliantly portrayed by Noomi Rapace. She pulled off the genius/sociopath role with perfection, teetering between calculated reasoning and complete loss of control and conscience. The second most important character, Mikael Blomkvist, was also skillfully portrayed by actor Michael Nyqvist. He was the perfect example of, as my best friend says, someone who was “ridden hard and put away wet!” And even the evil Nils Bjurman, played by Peter Andersson, was portrayed as the disgusting, foul pig that he was with no apologies. The rest of the actors and actresses that took part in this movie were almost all equally well-chosen for the roles they played, apart from Lena Endre who played Erika Berger, Blomkvist’s business partner and lover. More on that in a bit.

Plot and Details: The creators of this movie clearly read the book and took painstaking care to follow the storyline as closely as possible. There were times that even full quotes by certain characters matched the text from the book itself. I honestly spotted only a few minor discrepancies between the film and the book – one was the omission of the polyamorous relationship between Mikael, Erika, and Erika’s husband (who didn’t appear in the film at all) and the fact that Mikael was quite the tramp throughout the story line, spending considerable mattress time with a variety of women whose paths were crossed with his during the development of the story. But I suppose those slight discrepancies didn’t taint the overall picture – for the most part, everything I would consider ultimately central to the plot-line were included. Because of this, the run time of the movie was 152 minutes, which in no way created drag and was completely appropriate in order to do the story justice, a concept that Hollywood can’t seem to grasp.

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