The movie, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, is set in various places throughout Sweden. Mikael Blomkvist is investigating the death of a young woman which has gone unsolved for the last forty years. He is being assisted in solving the mystery by Lisbeth Salander. The movie’s story reflects the many different ranges of crime and the way that the person committing the crime goes through the various stages as they are committing them. We are also able to look at the feminist theory. Even Lis who was motivated to commit a crime out of revenge thought things through, but in the end she did not care if she was caught in the act.
The movie opens in Stockholm, Sweden where journalist Mikael Blomkvist has been sued by businessman Hans-Erik WennerstrA¶m in a libel case regarding some accusations he published about Wennerstrom . At the same time Lisbeth Salander, a talented investigator and hacker, is completing a background check on Blomkvist for Henrik Vanger. Henrik Vanger hires Mikael Blomkvist to investigate the disappearance and assumed murder of Henrik’s grandniece, Harriet, which occurred 40 years prior.
In payment for his investigative work and information, Henrik Vanger says he will provide Blomkvist with information about WennerstrA¶m that could aid in Blomkvist’s win in the court case against him. Lisbeth Salander is under state legal guardianship due to diagnosed mental incompetency. She is being put under a new guardian, lawyer Nils Bjurman. Bjurman abuses his authority over Salander and demands sexual favors, and he eventually goes so far as to violently rape her. Salander records the whole thing to be uses it as part of her revenge against him.
She later turns the tables and rapes Bjurman and labels him as a rapist by tattooing him on his chest. With this blackmail over him she demands that he gives her control of her money. A break in the investigation comes when Blomkvist’s daughter is visiting him she see the notes from the notebook he has and she is able to determine that the mysterious numbers are actually Bible references. When Blomkvist needs help with his research Frode, Vanger’s lawyer, recommends that he seek help from Salander based on research she did previously for them.
As they are working together, Salander uncovers a connection to the murder they are investigating and a series of murders of young women that occurred between 1947 through 1967. The women either had Biblical names or were Jewish, that would make the crimes a serial crime. Salander’s research uncovers evidence that Martin and his deceased father, Gottfried, had committed these murders. Before Lisbeth can return to Mikael with her findings, Mikael is confronted by Martin and tries to outwit and expose him. Somehow Martin manages to get the upper hand and takes Mikael down in a torture room.
As Martin is preparing to kill Mikael, Lisbeth arrives and fights Martin, eventually shooting him. Mikael and Lis still have another mystery on their hands, this one involves where Harriet is and uncovering what happened to her. So they are able to deduces that Harriet’s living cousin Anita is hiding Harriet from her father, Gottfried, and her brother, Martin, who had raped and tortured prior to her escape from them. They are able to find Harriet and reunite her with Henrik. Lisbeth exhibits the characteristics of being a strong woman, doing so through Mikael.
She doesn’t hate him as she fears & hates other men. She remarks, “He ?s clean,? meaning he is who he means to be. It appears that she is pulled to men who need her around for other reasons, and not the ones that need her help or from whom she is shown kindness. She eventually starts forming an emotional dependence on her friendship with Mikael. So even in the end of the movie when she see him with another women she doesn’t let it overtake her, but rather she walks away from the situation and becomes an even stronger woman than before.
An examination of Mikael’s character, we see he is struggling to show his masculinity at the beginning of the film. He is attempting to run away from a fight with Hans-Erik WennerstrA¶m, and on top of that he is shown as not being able to provider for his family making him feel more inadequate. With assistance from Lisbeth, he is able to save himself. One strength of the movie was that the time line of events could resembled reality. Many crimes are not solved quickly but rather take a long time to be researched and resolved.
The fact that this story spans 40 years is not unlike cases that are currently being investigated by authorities today. The crimes committed in the story although fiction could easily be reality in today’s society. Serial murders, rape, computer hacking, blackmail, being detained against your will, and drug dealing are all crimes that have been seen both historically and currently in society. There were however some problems that I saw with the story as well. For instance the explaination of events from 40 years prior seem to have been related to lack of professionalism of the police department.
Had officer done their job and checked the cars leaving the island they would have discovered the girl and if they had better examined the situation they should not have missed the fact that the murders were related by the fact that they all occurred near factories owned by a single family. One question that this movie seems to bring up is if certain motivations make a crime more acceptable then others. When Lis is forced to perform certain crimes should she be held accountable? Is being a victim a reasonable situation to allow her to perform the same acts done to her to Bjurman?