How far into the dark side do you have to travel to make a good murder mystery?You don’t have to, but contemporary cinema routinely pushes limits.
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a very well made murder mystery that tracks beyond serial killing (not to mention adding some Nazi pepper to the film’s dark flavors).The title character is one of the good guys, but she has, shall we say, “issues.”The secrets of a rich industrialist family seem easy to swallow compared with Lisbeth Salander, who is helping to investigate them.
Chalk one up for the storytellers, we’ve never seen a character like this one.She isplastered with tattoos and body piercings and a fiercely detached sense of independence. She does research for a living.A computer hacking genius, it’s evident that it doesn’t matter to her who she violates, and she crosses more than electronic boundaries.
Whatever the experiences are in her life that explain her behavior, one can question her coping mechanisms in adulthood, as well as the need for the filmmakers to share them so graphically on screen.To the movie’s credit, juxtaposing what all she does with what all the rich and powerful do works effectively.“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is difficult to watch.
Millions of people have read one or more of the trilogy by Stieg Larsson of Sweden.The Swedish title of the film, and the book it’s based on, is “Men Who Hate Women.”Such is marketing.Calling it “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” wields a more seductive edge, but this film is about violence not sex.
None of this sordid ground would be worth the attention without the classic mystery structure that assures the film.An insightful investigator gets drawn into a 40-year-old case. One of the family members is a murderer.How does one penetrate all the secrets, all that time?Apparently with Agatha Christie’s troubled Swedish reincarnation.