Finally! A good movie! And it’s from Sweden! Betcha didn’t see that comin’, didja? Huh? Huh? Well, me neither. Last time a buncha Swedes got together to make a good movie, vampires were involved.
If you were going to describe the girl with the dragon tattoo, you might call it a Swedish Silence of the Lambs.
The story is that investigative reporter Sven Anderssen (okay I’m making that name up) has been shamed publicly when an investigation of an evil capitalists goes sideways on him and lands him in legal trouble. as he loses the trial, he ends up working for a wealthy man who is trying to solve a 40 year old mystery.
Now, how Swedish can you get? He ends up being found guilty in the first five minutes of the movie but he doesn’t have to start serving his sentence for six months. And, of course, his jail cell ends up looking more comfortable than your average room at an Extended Stay America.
Anyway, while he’s researching this 40-year-old murder, he’s also being researched by the titular girl with a Dragon tattoo. She’s a feisty, dark-haired computer hacker who is being watched over by the protective, paternalistic Swedish government for some events that occurred in the past.
Unfortunately for her, her new parole officer—it’s actually called something like Guardian—sees her vulnerability as a opportunity to explore his perverse sexual peccadilloes with a partner that can’t complain.
Naturally, the old investigative reporter and the young computer hacker end up working together to solve this old mystery which involves lots of dead women and, believe it or not, Nazis.
Okay, I have to admit the introduction of Nazis into the storyline made me roll my eyes a little bit. But it wasn’t as hacky as that sounds.
Like some of the best European films, this one has many elements that feel very Hollywood and otherwise American while retaining a unique local sensibility, much the same way that Let The Right One In did. In other words, while it presents certain elements of the genre, there is no question that this is a Swedish movie.
It’s decidedly anti-capitalist, natch—"Capitalist" is used as a slur in the way “Commie” was used as a slur in the USA in the ‘50s, and most of the movie’s capitalists are Nazis or murderers or both—but at the same time, with the torture inflicted on the heroine by her state-appointed guardian, it must also be viewed as anti-statist at some level.
Mostly however, it’s entertaining. It engages you in its characters, as intriguing plot, and while dealing with a seamy subject matter—actually several seamy subject matters—it never feels too self-important.
By the way, I do mean seamy. Much like Silence of the Lambs, this is not a movie with a lot of lighthearted subject matter.
The Boy, the Old Man and I all liked this movie.