My colleague Julikinsbooks just wrapped up a few posts on the Millenium Trilogy and recommended that I write about the film. Now, since I am apparently the only person in the world who has yet to read The Millenium Trilogy, I honestly did not know what to expect. All I knew at the time was that:
-The lead character is a fearsome feminist badass
-Stieg Larsson is a mystery writing feminist badass
Overall, it was a better-than average thriller, but I still felt like it played pretty much by the numbers. Michael Nyquist was capable and charming in his grizzled investigative journalist role, and acts pretty much as you'd expect a grizzled journalist to behave. Noomi Rapace is fantastic, she steals every scene she's in as the moody and unpredictable Lisbeth Salander.
But while having a superb cast is usually a boon for movies, in this case it highlights the central problem. It has two characters who could easily be the focus of the story, and tries to have it both ways by telling two separate stories for the first half of the movie. By the time they come together, the story felt a bit disjointed. And the second half is paced and plotted like a typical action-thriller-mystery.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh. In truth, almost every scene is excellent, it's just that their coming together didn't really work for me. Blomqvist's initial investigation scenes take full advantage of remote, snowy Swedish locales, threatening and isolated. Salander's scenes with her "guardian" are loaded with menace, and she turns the tables in a most violent and unpredictable way.
I think though, fundamentally, the movie's a bit too fantastic. Salander's revenge is the ultimate in rape-revenge fantasies. The idea that Lisbeth would be so attracted to a man 3 times her age is a dirty-old-man fantasy (he is good-looking, but he's EXTREMELY square compared to Salander, and the movie fails to really show them build their relationship apart from solving the case).
Nonetheless, I will see the second movie, and am looking forward to the American remake (Daniel Craig fits the bill perfectly, though again we're going to have the two strong and separated leads problem).