Shocking suspense, thrills and intrigue.
Shocking suspense, thrills and intrigue make up the life of Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, a Stockholm based writer who takes on a case to avoid the spotlight, only to find himself embroiled in a grotesque family murder mystery.
Daniel Craig plays Blomkvist, an investigative Journalist, who has the smell for a good story, but finds himself knee-deep in a violent family history, where the patriarchs have a penchant for Nazism and shotguns. He employs Lisbeth Salander, a mentally scarred computer hacker to help him dig up the truth behind the disappearance of a missing school girl. He doesn’t realise though, that Salander, scarred by physical abuse, would become the weirdest, yet most trustworthy reporter he has ever worked with.
The film, so violent at some points, highlights Sweden’s seedy underbelly. It also explores features of sexuality not often portrayed in the Hollywood film, of lesbianism, rape and acts of sexual torture. All this is done artistically, bringing to life the popular fiction series written by Steig Larsson. It grips you from the very start and is true to the Scandinavian flavour of Larsson’s novels – by being set in Sweden, it doesn’t try to Americanize or tamper with what is a very Northern-European story.
The true star of the film is Rooney Mara, who manages the challenging task of bringing the fascinating mental character of Salander to the screen. Unfortunately for Craig, this was one film where his Bond-like physique did not give him an advantage – unfortunately he did not embody the Swedish charm Larsson envisaged, and is nothing on the blue-eyed actor in the Swedish original film adaptation. Which brings us to the main problem of the film – full of Hollywood buzz and grandeur, but why did it need to be adapted, when the Swedes had made such a good job of the original?
Ah, well…Interestingly, the life of Steig Larsson the author can be mapped onto the plot of the film. This series of novels was published posthumously, after he died in 2004. Larsson was an investigative Journalist whose main research projects revolved around the role of right-wing extremism in Scandinavia. He loved living and skiing in the wild and wintry landscapes of Sweden, which are beautifully envisaged in Blomkvist’s travels in the film. Larsson died of a heart attack. His works, like his life, are fast-paced and full of intrigue, and he manages to map his Journalistic craft onto the narrative of the millennium Series.
So, by all accounts, a pretty awesome film. Kept my eyes glued to the screen, brilliant story and was good to see a film set in the beautiful surrounds of Sweden….But, was a shame that this film had to be made so soon after the Swedish, equally well-thought of adaptation, and a shame that the film had to use a recognisable actor such as Daniel Craig over a more suitable, Swedish hero.