Let me just say that the last detective movie I saw before this one was Angels and Demons, so going in to see this one, I was not sure what to expect, since that one didn't exactly live up to my expectations.
But, man, do the Swedes deliver!
This was a total thrill ride. The two main characters are not your typical American leading man and woman, but that, to me, makes them that much more enjoyable. I've never read the book, but I can say that the characters themselves were a large part of what made this movie so memorable, and if this movie HAD been made in America, I don't know how much I would have enjoyed it, since we probably would have gotten some generic Sienna Miller look-a-like and young version of Harrison Ford in the title roles (and really, who wants to see that....again?). Noomi Rapace is fucking HOT as Lisbeth Salander, and I loved that she's able to hide in plain sight by dressing as a blonde bombshell (and also that it's supposed to be humorous). That girl is a badass.
I have to admit that I was pretty disturbed by the rape scene, but I think that was the point. Maybe it's just the American movie business idea of a taboo subject being instilled in my head. I mean, I wasn't as disturbed by this rape scene as I was by the one in Marnie (1964), but it was still uncomfortable. However, I think that because they included all the details it made the even more graphic revenge scene that much more satisfying (in a twisted sort of way). The fact that this was included not as a subject of the overall plot but as a character device is another great attribute to this movie because we were allowed to get to know each character as an individual and as a whole before they come together and solve a crime. That's something we don't exactly get with Se7en, now do we (not to say that that's a bad movie, but I thought I'd use it as a comparison due to the Biblical-themed murder plot)?
Although I didn't find the whole father-passing-the-crime-to-his-son deal realistic, I did like that the crimes were about the very real and unfortunate issue of anti-semitism. (I get that a lot of the praises I'm making should be credited to the author of the book, but seeing as I haven't read it, I'll just praise him AND the filmmakers for staying true to the original plot, something they didn't have to do completely after buying the rights). I feel like there are so many detective story lines that avoid issues that actually exist for fear of offending anyone. Why? I don't know. It's a movie- you can't please anyone. And besides, if there were someone that were watching this that were a fan of anti-semitism, hell, I'd WANT to offend the shit out of them.
Anyway, now that I've gone on a little rant about that, I also want to make one unrelated comment about how wonderful the color quality of this film is. It's been a while since I've seen a film where the film itself matched the content of the movie (although I'm sure they shot in HD). The film buff in me is giving props to the editors for making a movie with dark and disturbing content, well, actually dark. The saturated green tint that permeated most of this movie only added to the well constructed storyline and memorable characters. I can only hope that the sequel that's already in process will live up to the dark and ominous beauty of its predecessor.
The Movie Mistress