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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

by on 2012/05/06

“I’m just glad you are here.”

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I love mysteries. Rather a lot. Sometimes my unsettling addiction to crime documentaries, police procedurals and good, old-fashioned murder mysteries can be a problem on those nights when the house settles, creaks and sighs in a way that perfectly replicates a ski-masked intruder creeping up my stairs.

Harsh, gritty and uncompromising, I kept thinking, “This was on Swedish television?” It made “edgy” HBO programming looked like a marathon of Yo Gabba Gabba.

After the nightmares brought on by this affecting and effective Swedish television series subsided, I realized I sort of loved the hero of this harsh, uncompromising, traumatizing tale. Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is a vision in black leather, pale skin and eyeliner. She’s tough and accomplished – a sought-after hacker for a security company.

She’s victimized but she is decidedly not a victim. She’s as sharp and hard as the studded dog collar she wears around her neck.

I love the idea of Lisbeth. No one’s cutting her much slack. She’s on parole, she looks different and she certainly can’t get by on her sunny personality. In fact, she exudes all the cheer of an Easter Island statue and is just about as talkative.

But she’s resourceful, cunning, self-sufficient and ever so clever. Yes, I love her.

While I know that the world sometimes deals women dirt,  I despise those that want to turn women into coddled and protected children. Lisbeth is the anti-victim. Lisbeth fights her own battles and dispenses her own justice.

And how. Shiver.

If there’s a damsel in distress in this tale, it is Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) a disgraced and convicted investigative journalist. Blomkvist is hired by a wealthy octogenarian Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) to solve the decades-old disappearance of his beloved niece Harriet.

There’s a lot layered on and jammed into this intense television adaptation of the book by Stieg Larsson. Occult, Nazism, sexual sadism, buried family secrets, lies, love of a kind, political intrigue, corruption.  I don’t want to give away too much. Just know that this story will be scorched into your mind’s eye for days and weeks to come.

As a mystery and more, it was engrossing, it was thrilling,  it make me stay up way past my bedtime. It really hasn’t left my mind even now. Mostly, I just want to see more of the fierce Lisbeth – so I will be checking out the next few in the series.

* * * *

152 minutes

Rated R for disturbing violent content including rape, grisly images, sexual material, nudity and language

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