This dynamite thriller shivers with suspense. So if you ignore The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (from the global bestseller by the late Stieg Larsson) because it's in Swedish with English subtitles, you probably deserve the remake Hollywood will surely screw up. Better to just go with the twisty flow as pierced, tattooed twentysomething hacker Lisbeth Salander (a dazzling Noomi Rapace in a star-making performance) teams up with middle-aged journalist Mikael Blomqvist (the excellent Michael Nyqvist) to unearth secrets in the family of an industrialist who thinks his niece was murdered 40 years ago. Homicide is just the tip of this Nordic iceberg, which finds Lisbeth and Mikael buried in perversities that would floor the Marquis de Sade. Lisbeth's revenge on her abusive guardian (Peter Andersson) is graphic enough to freeze your blood. No fair revealing more, except to say that Danish director Niels Arden Oplev fits the puzzle pieces together like a grandmaster of the mystery game. Larsson followed Tattoo with two more posthumously published bestsellers, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (both shot for Swedish TV). But Tattoo is the only one directed by Oplev, whose gift for ratcheting up tension and deepening character makes him a talent to watch. His haunting and hypnotic movie gets under your skin.
From The Archives Issue 141: August 16, 1973