The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: movie review

( Unrated ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

Swedish thriller ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ based on Stieg Larsson’s popular trilogy, turns on a murder within a tightly knit clan intent on keeping its secrets.

Portrait of the Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who plays the part of Lisbeth Salander in the movie 'The girl with the dragon tattoo.'

In “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” aging industrialist Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube) hires disgraced muckraker Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to investigate the presumed murder of his niece, Harriet, who mysteriously disappeared some 40 years earlier.

Unbeknownst to Mikael, he himself is being investigated by Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a brilliant, punkish, flagrantly maladjusted hacker in her 20s.

Just as his inquiries seem to be hitting a dead end, Lisbeth anonymously e-mails the solution to his current impasse. Locating her, Mikael hires her to help him out.

Danish director Niels Arden Oplev faithfully and intelligently transfers the first volume of Stieg Larsson’s hugely popular detective trilogy to the screen.

Most fans would agree that Larsson’s greatest accomplishment is the creation of the extraordinary and unforgettable Lisbeth.

Likewise, the key to the film’s effectiveness is the casting of Rapace, who, while not mapping quite exactly to the book’s physical descriptions, is riveting.

Grade: A- (Unrated.)

Peter Rainer, the Monitor's film critic, is on vacation this week.

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[Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the nationality of director Niels Arden Oplev.]

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