Monday Movie: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by @lexx2099

Based on Steig Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogyThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is possibly the bleakest of his interwoven tales, finally making it to these shores after wowing the more hard stomached of the critics attending Cannes. The film, an uncompromising mystery thriller with some truly memorable – and disgusting – on-screen executions, kick-starts the trilogy in fine style, with The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest to follow in the near future and a Hollywood remake planned for 2012.

All things being equal, this is a genre flick that deserves mainstream attention; its dense plotting and twisting murders positioning it somewhere between Let The Right One In and Se7en. We follow journo Mikael on his latest assignment-tracking down a missing little rich girl. The twist? It’s a cold case, the girl in question vanishing some 40 years previous, but there’s a blank cheque from her uncle, a portentous dynastic patriarch who may not be all that he seems.

It’s an interesting premise, combining classic noir elements straight out of The Big Sleep, with modern ‘pattern killer’ horrors like Zodiac, as Mikael, together with dysfunctional hacker Lisbeth (an outstanding Noomi Rapace) realise they are on the trail of a very dangerous, and still very active, killer.

The frozen island setting adds to the thick and gloomy atmosphere as a dense character piece unfolds, but it’s credit to the wit and style of Niels Arden Oplev’s adaptation that it never feels overly talky or stretched, each line of dialogue propelling the plot along at a thrilling pace that belies the 2-hour-plus running time.

The mix of dark family drama and terrifying gore should be uneasy, but is incredibly well balanced; the tense dialogue building a sense of unease that the visceral murders amplify; genuine, crawling apprehension mixing with standout pay-offs that will be burned into your memory.

Overall, a masterful mix-up, some sublime performances and an unshowy aesthetic that ground proceedings in reality and keep this a million miles away from the likes of Saw or Hostel; not to mention infinitely more disturbing. A Scandinavian Silence of the Lambs with a Giallo look that you owe it to yourself to check out.

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