A 40-year-old cold case might sound as dusty as old drapes but throw in an exiled reporter, a hard-as-nails genius and a family of ageing eccentrics living in the icy wiles of Sweden and you’ve got a mystery as sprawling and wild as the landscape. Stieg Larsson’s gripping yarn is a tale within a tale sporting a tail that chases itself relentlessly. The film has everything: intrigue, murder, fraud, sadistic violence, romance, religious themes, horror, tear-jerking sadness and a web of storylines that merge within a climactic second half. More
Parts of the murder mystery play out like a far-fetched episode of CSI with some of the clues coming together too conveniently. But holding it together are the characters, all of them deeply dysfunctional or emotionally scarred. It’s impossible to escape the chilling sense the two leads are never safe from any of them. Actress Noomi Rapace gets the best role in unpredictable Lisbeth Salander, the ultra-intelligent but angry young hacker whose true essence is revealed layer by layer throughout the film.
But what sets this apart is the gender role reversal and the wider themes of corruption, family betrayal and trust. It’s the chick who’s the real kick-ass hero, as sick as her brand of revenge is, and as warped as her history leads her to be. And it’s the society in which the characters dwell that leads us on this wildest of goose chases. Hide