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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Author Stieg Larsson didn’t live to see the enormous international success of his mystery/thriller trilogy, but it’s hard to imagine him not approving Niels Arden Opley’s faithful adaptation. Yet, watching this two-pronged tale of amateur sleuthing sets up an even greater mystery; what’s all the fuss about? Noomi Rapace is the tattooed Goth girl, a troubled soul with a gift for computer hacking. She’s on the e-trail of disgraced investigative journalist Michael Nyqvist who’s just been hired by a super-rich industrial family. They, or rather, the elder head of the family, wants to find out what happened to one of their own, a girl who vanished over forty years ago. But the more the reporter uncovers, the less the family wants him to dig. Larsson gets his two leads working together too early in the story, a bit more personal antipathy or professional rivalry might have covered up the dreary computer screen research and some less than baffling clues. It also causes problems with story construction since we’ve got to get thru an extended epilogue after dealing with a series of third-act plot revelations. (And it’s even longer in MILLENIUM, the tv version of the complete trilogy, which adds a half-hour to a two & a half hour running time.) There’s certainly no lulls between the ultra-violence. Not only as part of the central case; not just for penetrating into the screwed up psyche of Ms Tattoo; but needlessly added to the main event like extra side dishes to fill out a platter . . . for our delectation. Maybe that explains why a dream team of Hollywood A-listers are signing up for a remake.

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