| A disgraced middle-aged financial journalist and a violent, emotionally unstable young female computer hacker with a photographic memory form the most unlikely crime-solving duo ever seen on screen.
Based on the first crime novel of a trilogy written by the late Swedish journalist-activist Stieg Larsson, this mystery thriller uncovers secrets buried in the past linked to a powerful dysfunctional family.
Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) has earned a reputation as a watchdog journalist with high ideals. The public is taken aback when he is found guilty of libel for an article about a crooked tycoon suspected of gun-running and other felonious activities.
After resigning his position as a magazine publisher, he is contacted by Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), a wealthy 82-year-old industrialist living on a remote island. Henrik hires him to solve the mystery of his favorite niece’s disappearance that occurred 40 years ago. Vanger believes she was murdered even though her body has never been found. He has been haunted by her memory and every year he receives a framed flower on his birthday from some far corner of the world. This annual gifting practice began when his niece, Harriet Vanger, was only 8 years old.
Blomkvist must research each member of the tightly knit Vanger clan to obtain clues.
Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the title character, works as a researcher for a security firm. She did a background check on Blomkvist and is convinced he was set up with false information for his libelous story.
She hacks into Blomkvist’s computer and becomes intrigued by the facts uncovered in his investigation. She sends Blomkvist an e-mail linking the missing girl’s diary notations to biblical references about Jewish women who should be killed for committing sins.
Blomkvist hires Salander to assist him in putting together the pieces of the puzzle and solving this fascinating whodunit. Their lives are put in jeopardy as they uncover a dark and appalling family history of Nazism, torture chambers, rape, incest, child abuse and ritualistic serial killings.
The original title of the book was “Men Who Hate Women,” because grotesque graphic violence and perverse sexuality permeate the story.
Salander is one of the strangest and most eccentric female heroines you will ever encounter. Black is her favorite color reflected in her eyeliner, lipstick and biker clothing. Her body is adorned with tattoos and various piercings. Despite seeming odd in appearance, she is very intelligent.
A subplot involves her new guardian who controls her money. She needs a new personal computer and asks him for money. He demands sexual favors in return. She comes up with a plan to expose his deviant behavior.
This movie was the highest grossing European film of 2009 with box office receipts of over $100 million. It won the Audience Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the Portland International Film Festival. It was nominated for the audience award, best actress (Rapace) and best composer (Jacob Groth) at the 2009 European Film Awards.
The cinematography and scenic Swedish backgrounds are major strengths. Oscar-nominated director David Fincher (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List”) have already signed up for the English language remake slated for a 2012 release.
This art house delicacy is one of the year’s best. The dialogue is in Swedish with English subtitles. You can see it exclusively at either the Rio or the Tivoli in Westport.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"