by Steven Leventhal
Last night I got to finally see part two of the "Dragon Tattoo" series of movies based on the very popular books of the same name by Stieg Larsson, although they are collectively called the "Millennium" series. Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyquist reprise their roles as Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist respectively. What's not to love about the Salander character, aptly described in Wikipedia as "tattooed, bisexual computer-hacker with violent tendencies and a hatred of men who exploit women?" She is also clever, cunning, and fiendish, with a strong instinct for self-preservation.
It's a lot different watching a movie when you know the plot. In some ways there aren't any surprises. This is helpful as the movie is still in Swedish, with English subtitles. On the other hand, I like to see how well the director and screenwriter have adapted the material.
Just as in the first film, the movie tends to follow the basic plot of the book. Two journalists working for Blomkvist's "Millenuim" magazine are about to publish an expose of the sex trafficking trade when they are brutally murdered.
Also found dead is Salander's legal guardian. When all evidence seems to point to Lisbeth, she has to go into hiding. The police ramp up the heat, by leaking details and photos to the press. It seems that only Blomkvist believes her innocence. First, he has to convince his colleagues, then the police. When that doesn't happen, Mikael is forced to take matters into his own hands, using his journalistic instincts and resources. Also Lisbeth seems to be helping him with clues she emails him.
Left out of the movie version are minute plot points that don't really advance the story, as well as details that would be hard to squeeze into a picture that already exceeds two hours. It might be hard to figure out some of what is going on if you haven't read the books. I definitely recommend seeing the first movie - "The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo," less one be hopelessly lost without a parka in the Swedish tundra.
This movie has it all- faithfulness to the original story, gun play, fight scenes, sex, including some serious girl-on-girl action, and even a short car chase. Rapace once again delivers a stunning performance as Sandler, the hacker with a photographic memory and a score to settle. She would be ideal to reprise the role in the forthcoming American version, but I read somewhere that she's done with the character. Nyquist isn't nearly as captivating, and kind of looks like Daniel Craig with a bad haircut. Check this flick out. It's only playing at art houses, like Renaissance Place in Highland Park. My rating - a grand slam - four stars.
See the trailer: