Before we first meet him at the start of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) sits upon the precipice of his career. Co-owner of the successful Stockholm-based magazine Millennium, he has made his reputation for integrity by uncovering the unscrupulous dealings of Sweden’s corporate and financial leaders. But that has made him enemies as well.
When he loses a libel case after his expose on billionaire speculator and corporate leader Hans-Erik Wennerstrom (Ulf Frieberg), Mikael’s credibility is crushed; his magazine and reputation disgraced, and his career in tatters. Stepping down, he hands the magazine’s operations over to Millenium’s co-owner and editor-in-chief (and Mikael’s lover) Erika Berger (Robin Wright).
Intending to simply lay low, Mikael, instead is drawn into an offer he can’t refuse. With the promise of information that will prove his case against Wennerstrom, he is hired to help Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), retired CEO of a vast corporate empire—and patriarch to the family that owns it—to solve a decades-old murder mystery.
Brought out to a remote island off Sweden’s north coast, he meets the Vanger family, which despite its wealth and surficial togetherness living together in this remote, snowy paradise, is fractured by family secrets and a long-ago tragedy. Told by the elderly Henrik that Blomkvist has been hired to write his memoirs, the family does not trust the journalist at all, afraid that corrosive family secrets will be revealed, if not publicly, then at least to Blomkvist—the investigative journalist! All are deeply suspicious of Mikael and his motives.
Henrik’s hope is to solve the very mystery at the heart of the very private and secretive Vanger family. His niece, Harriet, missing now for decades, vanished one evening, years earlier, not showing up for a large family dinner. No one knows what’s become of her—whether she is dead, whether she’s run away—or something perhaps even more sinister.
To piece it all together, Mikael must dig through police reports—and the volumes of Henrik’s records kept over the years, as well as any information he can glean from the corporate records of Vanger Enterprises. It is here he intersects with Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), the Girl with the dragon tattoo—his research assistant on the project, and much, much more. What Mikael discover both about the Vangers and himself is at the heart of the film’s story.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will be released on Blu-ray and DVD March 20, and is now available for pre-order.