© NFP/Warner

Verblendung (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Män som hatar kvinnor)
Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2009

Opening 1 Oct 2009

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev
Writing credits: Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg, Stieg Larsson
Principal actors: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Haber, Sven-Bertil Taube

Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy has been an extraordinary publishing success, wracking up sales of 15 million copies in over 40 countries so far, and still going strong. Unfortunately, Larsson died suddenly of a heart attack at age 50, before his first book was on the market. The books, thrillers with complicated but fascinating main characters, are long, mesmerizing works, with extraordinary detail. Inventive strands dangle enticingly from each chapter, dragging the reader deeper into the dangerous complications in the lives of Miki and Lisbeth. And the characters, especially the main characters, are beautifully and sympathetically drawn. Lisbeth Salander is one of the most original and unusual heroines in literature. And the books are literate, suspenseful and (careful) – very addictive! So Larsson’s fans have been holding their collective breath waiting for the film. Well – it works very well, as far as it goes, mostly because the extraordinary Swedish actress Noumi Rapace captures Lisbeth Slandar with devastating accuracy – fulfilling Larsson’s portrayal of this unusual and intriguing character. Michael Blomkvst (Michael Nyquist), a well-known investigative journalist, is sued for defamation of character by a powerful industrialist who has set him up. He is sentenced to three months in prison. But before his sentence begins he is invited, perhaps commanded would be a better word, to visit Henrik Vanger, an 82 year-old patriarch of a huge family and still active in the family firm. Vanger’s beloved niece, Harriet, disappeared 40 years earlier, and although she is presumed dead, no trace of her body has ever been found. At the suggestion of Vanger’s lawyer, Michael enlists the help of a young woman researcher, and, it turns out, a talented hacker, Lisbeth Salandar. But there are people who do not want this case reopened. Lisbeth, whose frightening past is barely revealed in the film, has her own enemies, and both Michael and Lisbeth are caught in a maelstrom that threatens to destroy them.

Disappointingly, a great deal of the book isn’t even touched on. As the German version is almost 700 pages long, it’s probably understandable. But if you haven’t read the book yet, don’t. See the movie first – it’s an exciting, suspenseful thriller on its own – and then start reading. You won’t be disappointed. Note: there are very disturbing scenes towards the end of the film – this is not a movie for the faint of heart. (Adele Riepe)

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