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Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) (2009)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor) (2009) is a Swedish crime thriller based on Stieg Larsson's international best-selling novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Note: This movie is not to be mistaken with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) - starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara - coming to the Malaysian cinemas early next year.

Synopsis: A 16-year old Harriet Vanger has disappeared without a trace for 40 years. Her uncle, Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), the eldest of the influential Vanger family, is convinced that Harriet was murdered by a member of his large and dysfunctional family. Over the years, he has gathered a substantial amount of hints and clues, but he was never able to put the pieces together.

To find out the truth before he dies, Henrik employs Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), a disgraced investigative journalist to work on the case. Mikael then meets Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a brilliant yet troubled computer hacker after he finds out that she hacks into his computer.

Their investigation unfolds a complex set of clues found in Harriet's Bible and this leads to a string of grotesque sadistic murders spanning decades. Soon, they begin to unravel a dark and morbid family history. However, the villain will not let them uncover the ugly secrets that have been kept undiscovered for 40 years.

This is a very good Swedish crime thriller. The main plot and subplots work very well together to make this movie one of the most compelling thrillers I've watched so far. The subplots are particularly important because they reveal personal problems and obstacles the main characters have to deal with and this gives us a fuller understanding about the characters and the storyline.

However, some might feel uneasy watching intense graphical and morbid scenes of violence against women - sadistic sexual abuse, rape, sodomy, incest, and torture. I find them very ugly and disturbing.

Kudos, however, should be given to Noomi Rapace who plays the Lisbeth Salander character so convincingly real. Her gripping performance makes this movie an unforgettable viewing experience.

In fact, great performances all around cement this movie's success. Veteran actors, Sven-Bertil Taube (Henrik Vanger) and Peter Haber (Martin Vanger) do great jobs as supporting actors.

Overall, this is a must-watch movie. Do get the DVD. If possible, I want to get the other two movies: The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden) (2009) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Luftslottet som sprängdes) (2009).

About the novel, I wonder if I should buy them. :P

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