Roger Ebert gives this movie 4 stars, his highest rating. I’ll give it five. It’s over two hours long, it’s Swedish, and it has subtitles, but it’s absolutely wonderful.
It takes a while to realize the movie is really about Lisbeth Salander, played by Noomi Repace. Lisbeth is a 24 year old punk computer hacker with a photographic memory. She wears shiny black boots, a black leather jacket, and enough metal to set off airport alarms. The thing you love about her is that she fights against injustice, she never stops, and she never gives up. This incredibly complex character brings a new definition to the word justice, not to mention revenge and retribution.
If there are women out there who think they have to wear the burkas and do what they’re told, they should see this movie. When Lisbeth Salander is mistreated, she fights back. If her behavior crosses the line into illegality, her antagonists are so evil, their crimes so heinous, we applaud her no matter what she does. The bad guys in this movie are so bad they deserve whatever happens to them.
On its deepest level, this movie is about patriarchy and power, and how these things are used against women. If you’re a sleaze lawyer like the one who controls Lisbeth’s money, and you use your power to have your way with her, don’t expect to go unpunished.
I love this wonderful punk of a girl who gives as good as she gets. I’ll give you fair warning: the movie has its share of sex and violence. Yet I think it’s an honest representation of what is happening to women all over the world. What is different here is that Lisbeth answers in kind, and she never stops until the bad guys are punished, old testament style: an eye for an eye.
When she falls in love, she loves with such a ferocity and faithfulness she is willing to sacrifice everything.
I loved this movie. I can’t wait for the next one.
Lucky for us, Steig Larsson wrote two more books in this Millennium series before his untimely death in 2004. His second book, The Girls Who Played with Fire, is being made into a movie. The third book, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, has just been published. I plan to read all three.