It was probably Tuesday or Wednesday of last week when I first started checking for the weekend's new movie releases. Generally, I have an idea of what big releases are pending, but I check to see if there are any smaller titles coming to town to check out —indies, foreign titles, documentaries, anything out of the mainstream. I am not guaranteed to see them, but better to be aware in case I want to see them, right? One title jumped out at me while checking the schedules. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo caught my eye — the title is intriguing, no?
I recall that Roger Ebert had reviewed it recently. I had not read the review, but I remember him saying to see it and not wait for a Hollywood remake (which already seems to be slated for a release in 2012). I took a quick look at the description and then wrestled for a couple of days with whether I wanted to make the hour drive to see it. The internal debate continued at work when co-workers asked what I was going to see as they are wont to do. I mentioned the title and their stare glazed over as I explained it was a two and a half hour thriller from Sweden. Subtitled? Yes, subtitled. A grimace followed as they continued on with their work. Needless to say, I made the trip and I am glad I did. The movie proved to be well worth the trip.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was released in its native country under the title Millennium: Part 1 - Men Who Hate Women. It turns out it is the first part of a trilogy based on novels by Stieg Larsson who sadly died prior to the release of any of the novels much less the films. Of course, I did not know this was a series until after the fact. The film plays out perfectly well on its own. However, I am interested in seeing further development of these characters, as they are complex protagonists who exist in this film whose actual plot is decidedly less complex, although no less interesting.
I walked into the film rather unsure of what to expect. I knew the basic setup was that a rich man hires a disgraced journalist and computer hacker to investigate the disappearance of his niece 40 years prior when she was just 16 years old. The uncle is convinced it was murder committed by a family member. The investigation takes them into the family's dark history that some would rather see keep secret.