Review: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Whether you’ve read Stieg Larsson‘s Milleniuium trilogy or know nothing about the books at all, you can enjoy the film version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the first novel in the series. The first film is being released in the US on March 19, starring Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander, the bisexual protagonist who is a whiz at hacking and researching (aka stalking).

To describe it simply, the film follows Lisbeth as she attempts to help journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) solve the mystery of a 16-year-old girl from a wealthy family that disappeared in the 1960s. Rapace is perfectly stoic and determined as Lisbeth, one of the strongest fictional female characters we’ve seen this decade.

Lisbeth is 24-years-old, but is under probation for her violent past. She’s disturbed and emotionally unavailable, but this aids her in being able to kick ass and take names — at least of those who deserve it. With piercings, body art and a goth wardrobe, Lisbeth also carries a “don’t mess with me attitude,” which she’s willing to act on if you actually dare mess with her. In one scene, she’s being pushed around by a group of rabble rousers in the subway, but they run from her once she smashes a bottle and uses an edge of the glass to cut one of them in the arm. In another, she seeks revenge on her probation guardian who beat and raped her by returning the, uh, favor and then tattooing his chest to say “I’m a sadist pig and rapist.”

Lisbeth is surely a feminist icon.

The only way you know she’s bisexual, at least in this first film, is from a brief scene in which she wakes up nude next to Miriam Wu, who is her on-and-off-again lover, more prominently featured in the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Early reviews and screencaps from the second film indicate we’ll see much more of Miriam and Lisbeth together.

Scenes from “The Girl Who Played With Fire”

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