It is very rare to watch a movie based on a favorite book and not be disappointed. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, however, is a rare exception as it is a perfect adaptation. Both the cast and the scenery was very close to the imagery the late Stieg Larsson created in my mind while I was reading his masterpiece. And the story follows the book plot with faithful reverence.
Having said that, even if one missed on the book this is a powerful and very entertaining movie on its own.
The movie is in Swedish (as it should) and if, like me, not fluent in the language, one has to use subtitles. I prefer this kind of translation to dubbing as I find it more respectful of the artists' original vision and craft. German and French (to to mention American) audiences, to name but a few, have been addicted to hearing their own language. This convenience, although it can work for most blockbusters, it rubs off all the subtle details that give rise to a masterpiece.
Noomi Rapace (of Prometheus fame) simply is Lisbeth Salander. The body-type, the attitude, the self-assured distrust towards the world. From the way she enters a room to the way she hits her computer keys she is possessed by Lisbeth's spirit.
In this first installment of The Millennium Trilogy Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his investigation form the center of gravity. No matter, the moment Lisbeth enters a scene she steals it away simply because there hasn't been such an original character for a long time. Nobody wants to cross this version of Pipi Longstockings!
The story revolves around a locked-room/island mystery. An industrialist, Henrik Vanger, has life-long obsession with what really happened to his beloved niece, Harriet. Although the Vagner family has no..shortage of bad apples, the mystery resisted to 40 years of thorough investigation by both the police and numerous private investigators. Blomkvist is persuaded to give it one last try not only by the substantial paycheck but also by the promise to be able to clear his name, tricked and convicted into libel as he had been.