The revelation of the serial killer in The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo brings with it the most chilling line delivered onscreen since Silence of the Lambs' Chianti and Fava beans culinary mashup: a starker revelation that being a victim is one part maniacal killer, two parts victim's mistake. When it's added up, demoralizing insult is heaped on potential injury for journalist Mikeal Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) in this strong R-rated mystery.
Because it is a mystery you will need to pay attention. This is the second time I was asked for an explanation of a film's story in the theater's men's room after the film. "You saw Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, right?" "Yes." "What the hell happened?"
The labrynthine investigation of Henrik Vanger's (Christopher Plummer) family tree and the living and dead closet skeletons inhabiting the island, where relatives avoid each each, can be vexing enough, but the story is not only about them: it's about Blomkvist being successfully sued by a financial predator he was investigating; it's about that girl who likes tattoos and hacking into people's personal lives, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara, who looks a lot like her name sounds). She's preyed upon by a social worker who can't keep his pants zippered; then there's a 40 year-old disappearance, complicated by more Nazi-skeletons rattling in that closet and a serial killer who may still be active.
I could go into detail, but it's better to watch it unfold. Just stay alert. It becomes dicey when Lisbeth teams up with Blomkvist. She did a very thorough background check on him. He knows about it. She was so good at it he figures she'd be a perfect assistant. She can't seem to keep her pants zippered when he's around, so he reluctantly lets her investigate that, too. The movie's a hot roll in moist bedsheets. It's a study in predator types. It's a downbeat, whitewashed landscape of cold days and nights, and dangerous revelations. It's also a puzzle involving not only the pieces but how they're fitted into place, one by one, and the unsavory picture those pieces create. Craig doesn't muscle-up his Blomkvist and Mara doesn't muscle-down her Lisbeth. The roles stay brittle: they get beat up, they get even. Lisbeth is a lot better at getting even.
She's one victim who knows how to exact revenge that's also economically rewarding. My guess is this is the part that capped the confusion the guy in the theater's men's room had. It's a little drama after the stage's main event has played out, so it's natural to drop your attention a notch at this point. Don't. It's even more fun to watch Lisbeth play with her mice. I'd wager if Lisbeth made it into a Bond movie she'd better play Bond's sister. Otherwise he's going to get his ass kicked but good.
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