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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Everybody’s got secrets. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Niels Arden Oplev  
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube  
An image from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) is a hard hitting, publicly lauded investigative journalist, until he loses a crooked defamation lawsuit, leaving his reputation tarnished and his enthusiasm shattered. Lisbeth Salander (Rapace), the eponymous tattooed girl, is an immensely intelligent personal investigator and computer hacker, but an often violent antisocial disposition leaves her misunderstood and abused. When Blomkvist is approached to solve the 40-year-old case of a missing girl, he becomes embroiled in the domestic politics of the notoriously wealthy Vanger family. Lisbeth, secretly spying on Blomkvist, helps him solve clues anonymously until her cover is broken, and she becomes an active force in the investigation. As the unlikely duo delve into a dark history of animosity and corruption, they begin to meditate on their own histories and the possibility of new beginnings.

Oplev’s film adaptation of the twisting Swedish mystery novel comes as the first instalment of Stieg Larssons’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy, an impressive crime saga that has garnered posthumous global approval. This critical acclaim is in no doubt due to the plot’s intricate layers and unexpected twists, keeping one guessing in the best ‘whodunit’ fashion. Furthermore, the story makes the transition to film with glorious ease. The locations are all captured with an aesthetic eye, yet evoke such conflicting emotions, with grand, historic manors that are simultaneously desolate and oppressive, and calm areas of countryside that retain a sense of aggression and threat. The characters are vividly created and given a chance to develop as they encounter morally testing problems and events. Oplev succeeds in paralleling stark brutality and reality with a human tenderness and sensitivity. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is virtually guaranteed to get you talking as you itch for the next two installments.

Daniel Hayden

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Autumn Term (35mm)