Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and subsequent films)

I’ve never really been into foreign films. The linguist in me is always distracted by comparing what I hear to what I read, trying to translate in my head languages I don’t have the first clue about. Like Swedish.

But one evening while in an unusually compliant mood, I agreed to watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Hubs. He’d heard it was “crazy” and wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I’d heard it was good, the little foreign independent that could, but wasn’t that interested.

Let me start by saying, never underestimate the Swedes. This was an A+ thriller, and while it was extremely graphic at points, I was totally immersed. Little Linguist forgot she was reading subtitles at all. Though the basic plot was pretty familiar–rebel journalist turns detective with aid of mysterious rebel hacker–the elements of the film, from character depth to subplots, were extra-ordinary. I highly recommend it unless you are extra squeamish about sexual abuse (not to say that I’m not, I just had a blanket and a husband to hide behind during the icky parts).

But tonight, upon completion of the third and final movie in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, hubs and I decided that, although these movies don’t fit the action-thriller-franchise stereotype, the same fate befalls them all: The first one rocks, the second (and third) falls short. Really, it has everything to do with expectations, but in this case, the difference was in the story.

The first film stands alone as a murder mystery. The second two follow the harrowing story of the mysterious hacker chick from film one. Yeah, there’s lots of action and this girl kicks some serious booty, but the incredible conspiracy web and almost gimmicky villains she gets herself tangled up with definitely left us with a few “come on, now” moments. A shame, really, given the absolute hell poor character Lisbeth Salandar went through between The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

Sooo, watch the first for the story, watch the second two for the action, but watch them all for the intense experience of counting how many English and Swedish words are cognates 🙂

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