The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Film, Action and adventure
3 out of 5 stars
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
The original title of the Stieg Larsson novel which became, in translation, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was ‘Men Who Hate Women’: a blunt but fitting description of this angry, intelligent but curiously uninvolving Swedish shaggy dog story. The film sees down-at-heel, crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) hired by industrialist Henrik Vanger to look into the disappearance of his beloved niece more than 30 years before. Blomkvist’s quest is intercut with the story of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a bisexual ex-con cyberpunk computer hacker (only in Sweden!) at the mercy of a corrupt, sexually deviant parole officer.

Throughout this beautifully photographed, skilfully constructed film there’s a sense we’re skimming lightly over Larsson’s characters and themes. Blomkvist is the putative hero, but his investigative journey is a little too familiar, his character too clean-cut to be compelling. It’s Salander who holds the attention: superbly played by Rapace, she’s a grim, spectral presence in the opening scenes, before she’s pushed too far and explodes in a moment of shocking, vengeful violence.

Such scenes place ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ above the extended TV mystery it easily could have become, but explicit violence only takes you so far. At heart this is a traditional thriller, down to a series of convenient and underwhelming last-act revelations. For fans of Larsson’s books this could be the highlight of the cinemagoing year – for the rest of us it’s a solid, enjoyable but emotionally unengaging detective story.

By: Tom Huddleston



Release details

Release date:
Friday March 12 2010
153 mins

Cast and crew

Niels Arden Oplev, David Fincher
Steven Zaillian
Sven-Bertil Taube
Peter Haber
Michael Nyqvist
Noomi Rapace
Daniel Craig
Julian Sands
Steven Berkoff
Robin Wright
Goran Visnjic
Joely Richardson
Rooney Mara
Stellan Skarsgard
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