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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

There's something about the cold Scandinavian climate that makes it the perfect backdrop for murder. Well, fictional murder at least, as SBS's steady stream of ice-cold murder series proves. Based on the first of a series of best-sellers, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which is soon to be re-made by Hollywood ) is a solid thriller that manages to keep the many twists and turns easy-to-follow without losing any of the grim and foreboding atmosphere.

Crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is heading for prison after losing a big-time defamation case, but before he's locked up he's offered a bit of freelance investigating work from a reclusive millionaire who believes that the killer of a long dead relative is taunting him. He wants to know who's sending him mementoes that only the dead girl knew about, but while Mikael is good at old-fashioned investigating he's not so flash with computers - which is where the titular girl Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) comes in. A hard-boiled hacker with a fashion sense that runs to leather and piercings, she's just the woman for the job - if she can get out of her parole officer's greasy grasp, that is.

Much of this movie, while slickly done and always engaging, is by-the-numbers conspiracy material; it's only Lisbeth's presence that really shakes things up and gives this film its edge. It's no wonder she became the star of the series, as while this is a good thriller, she's the only truly memorable thing about it.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #476)

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