MÄN SOM HATAR KVINNOR  (2009)

 (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

ROLE:  Journalist Mikael Blomkvist

GENRE:  Crime thriller

COUNTRY: Sweden, Denmark, Germany & Norway

RELEASE:  Sweden & Denmark: February 27, 2009

 
Synopsis

Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle suspects murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist to investigate. When Blomkvist hooks up with a tattooed, ruthless computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander, the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago. They begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history; but, the Vangers are a secretive clan and will go to any lengths to protect themselves.

 
Film Details

Michael Nyqvist - Mikael Blomkvist
Noomi Rapace - Lisbeth Salander
Lena Endre - Erika Berger
Sven-Bertil Taube - Henrik Vanger
Peter Haber - Martin Vanger
Peter Andersson - Nils Bjurman
Marika Lagercrantz - Cecilia Vanger
Ingvar Hirdwall - Dirch Frode
Björn Granath - Gustav Morell
Ewa Fröling - Harriet Vanger
 Michalis Koutsogiannakis - Dragan Armanskij
Annika Hallin - Annika Giannini
 Sofia Ledarp - Malin Eriksson

* * * * *

Director -  Niels Arden Oplev

Screenplay - Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg
Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson
Cinematography - Eric Kress
Music - Jacob Groth

152 minutes

 
From the Director:

I told producer Soren Staermose that I would do the film, but only if I had artistic control over cast, script, length, final cut etc. Having this control, I saw as the only way for me to do a successful film based on such a popular book.

I wanted a film with strong emotions, strong characters and a controversial and intriguing story. This is my trademark already and this book had it all. The visual style and production design had to show a big and special film. And I wanted all the small clues and details in Larsson’s book to be there - old still photos, which makes Harriet come alive, old footages from the bridge accident, Lisbeth having a photographic memory etc. And I would like the film to keep the edge, that the book has. That it dares to show the dark side of society.

I asked two of the best writers in Scandinavian Rasmus Heisterberg and Nikolaj Arcel, to write the script for me. Together we dissected the book and plotted out the storyline. Rasmus and Nikolaj then wrote like crazy. The time left before the start of shooting was already short.

It took the caster Tusse Lande and I months to cast the film - I am hysterical with finding the right actor for the characters. There must be a special connection between the actor and the character. The actors must have the shine of the character. Swedish star actor Michael Nyqvist presents us with humanity, empathy and heavyweight intellectualism, which we expect from his character Michael Blomkvist. And he does this so well that we are captured in excitement all the way though the story.

Lisbeth Salander is possibly the character in modern Scandinavian drama with the most expectations attached, and I can’t believe the luck we have had in finding Noomi Rapace for this part. Noomi has transformed herself into her character to a chilling perfection. Her performance as Lisbeth is outstanding.

I talked cinema photographer Eric Kress and production designer Niels Sejer into travelling to Sweden to do this film under hectic conditions. A decision I did not regret at any moment. They have raised the bar for this film, giving the art department work amazing details and the images a dark exciting feel.

The prep time was short and early on it became clear to me that we needed a miracle to bring the film home on time and budget. At that time the Swedish crew came on board, a team that was determined to make a quality film even if it took long days and hard work under tough conditions. And man, did they deliver. As did the whole ensemble of actors. The feeling of the set was that every shooting day was a battle for quality. A battle we were determined to win.


 
Publicity Photos
 
Stockholm Premiere Photos
 
 
For more photos, visit the Millenium Gallery
 
Reviews

"Oplev's direction is crisp and observant, and while Rapace's performance is the extraordinary one, Nyqvist's is solid and steady, and Sven-Bertil Taube, as the moneyed patriarch Henrik Vanger, is compelling."    ...Stephen Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Fans of this particular novel will be relieved to know that Niels Arden Oplev has done a superb job. Those who haven't yet read the book will find the film a compelling piece of work in its own right.... Nyqvist faces a difficult task keeping viewers interested in his part of the story, and that he does so is a credit to a much more understated but beautifully judged acting style."   ...Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film (UK)

"'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' is an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, and despite the long runtime, it never drags. The storytelling is intelligent, and the two leads are endlessly watchable. The casting is impeccable." ...Liz Braun, Jam!Movies

"Beyond the actual story elements, it is the searing presence of its two morally opposed central characters who inexplicably find each other and uniquely connect that captures our imagination. As It Is In Heaven's Michael Nyqvist is perfectly cast as the idealistic investigative journalist with no secrets, while Noomi Rapace is a sensation as the computer-hacking girl with the tattoo, body piercing and dark past."   ...Louise Keller, Urban Cinefil

"The film makes excellent use of the cold Scandinavian landscape to emphasize the story's gloomy loneliness. And Rapace and Nyqvist have compelling chemistry." ...Liz Schwartzbaum, EW

"The movie's most engaging mystery is its own. That would be the frankly sexual romance between Mikael (Michael Nyqvist) and Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace). They're remote characters who don't give a name to their romance for fear of ruining everything. It's an affair you rarely see in movies, and both actors do a splendid job conveying the brief, intense explosion that occurs when loners collide." ...Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail

"Salander’s battles are the reminder that the original Swedish title translated as Men Who Hate Women; misogyny has a pathologically violent edge here, which makes it all the more tricky that a relationship develops between Salander and the man she at first spies on, and then works with, disgraced investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist. Thankfully Nyqvist plays the part with shaggy simplicity, even a certain resignation, and that neatly offsets Rapace’s trip-wire demeanour." ...Craig Mathieson, sbs.com.au

"Aiding immeasurably to the film's appeal are the two central performances. As the world-weary but supremely dedicated Mikael, Michael Nyqvist does a good job of creating a character that you actually believe is smart and resourceful enough to put the disparate pieces of the complex puzzle together." ...Peter Sobczynski, eFilmCritic.com

"Oplev keeps everyone, and everything, on the move, the tension unrelenting as new suspects keep popping up. He is greatly helped by a number of finely wrought performances, with Rapace unforgettable as the dark and troubled Lisbeth. Meanwhile, Nyqvist brings just the right splash of irony and intensity to his wronged journalist, forever unable to resist a great story, and in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," that's exactly what we've got." ...Betsy Sharkey, The Los Angeles Times

"This action/art-house hybrid miraculously manages to be faithful to Larsson’s novel without seeming slavish. It doesn’t hurt that he’s cast the movie perfectly, too, thanks to the Viggo Mortensen-esque Michael Nyqvist as obsessive reporter Mikael Blomkvist and the pierced powerhouse Noomi Rapace as avenging cyberpunk angel Lisbeth Salander." ...Chris Nashawaty, EW

"'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' is an engrossing, classically suspenseful story... It is Oplev's quiet handling of multiple plot threads that is richly deserving of praise." ...Jan Chaney, The Washington Post

"When the picture gets down to the business of sleuthing, 'Dragon Tattoo' becomes a riveting motion picture, burning through blurred photographs, laptop gymnastics, and old-fashioned community questioning to help the tale creep along. The pieces fit nicely, with Oplev preserving the page-turning elements of the story while keeping matters deliciously cinematic through evocative widescreen photography and stellar performances from Nyqvist and Rapace, who capture the thrill of the hunt and the formation of mutual respect in very few moves." ...Film critic Brian Orndorf 

"Director Niels Arden Oplev has taken a dense mystery overstuffed with suspects and miscreants and brought it to resplendent cinematic life. So much critical information is conveyed via images that whatever details and subplots the novel loses on the way to the screen are made up by the film's atmosphere of simmering, brooding evil." ...Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

"Nyqvist and Rapace are terrific as Blomkvist and Salander; their onscreen chemistry is spiky, intriguing and genuinely touching, whilst their unconventional relationship is every bit as fascinating as the central mystery. The film is also beautifully shot, with cinematographer Eric Kress making the most of the remote island landscapes." ...Matthew Turner, Time Out

"There's also little doubt that like its literary inspiration, the movie is generally far more enthralling when focused on Salander's exploits. Nyqvist is certainly just as good as Blomkvist, yet he and the movie's various periphery performers are simply unable to hold the viewer's interest to the same extent as Rapace." ...David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

"Director Niels Arden Oplev and screenwriters Nikolaj Arcel and Rasmus Heisterberg have done a remarkable job streamlining Larsson's dense narrative without losing any crucial details or its dark, almost claustrophobic tone... Salander is a complex antihero, the kind of role American movies rarely provide for women and one of the most compelling characters to hit movie screens in recent years. She comes to the aid of Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist, excellent in an Everyman role)."   ...Greg Maki, Star-Democrat

"It's dark and dismal and beautiful and human and everything a crime film should be." ...Joshua Starnes, ComingSoon.net

"Where Nyqvist's Mikael is a strong character, insightful and constantly scrutinizing his surroundings, when Lisbeth enters the picture, he is obviously outmatched. The pair is certainly no Nick and Nora Charles, but they develop an odd kinship, and the chemistry the two actors bring to the matchup is riveting to watch." ...Ian Buckwalter, DCist

"Oplev deserves credit for crafting a well-paced crime thriller that stays mostly faithful to the source material, but it's the relationship between the two protagonists (and to a lesser extent, the chemistry between Nyqvist and Rapace) that is the real driving force of the film." ...Jason Zingale, Bullz-Eye.com

"What sets it apart thematically is the late Stieg Larsson's preoccupations with racism, misogyny, and financial scandal as corrosive elements in the Swedish character. What sets it apart emotionally is the moving and sometimes funny rapport between the rumpled reporter (Michael Nykvist's warm, steady performance will probably be overlooked but shouldn't be) and the pierced angel/demon who can do anything with a MacBook." ...Dan Lybarger, eFilmCritic.com

"The pairing of Rapace and Nyqvist works very well; they have great chemistry and spark off each other nicely, with Rapace creating the sense of Lisbeth’s ambivalence beautifully."   ...Coco Forsythe, Future Movies (UK)

"It’s a tribute to Oplev’s skill that the film never drags. Not since the American version of The Ring have blue-tinged northern landscapes, isolated islands and black-and-white photos been invested with so much foreboding." ...Margot Harrison, Seven Days

"When we are first introduced to Lisbeth she is working as a researcher who is hired to keep an eye on Mikael Blomvist - Michael Nyqvist, who also gives a stellar performance." ...Adam Tobias, Watertown Daily Times