Based on Stieg Larsson's novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a literary work adapted to film to become the highest-grossing Swedish film in history and Europe's highest-grossing film of 2009. 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, and her beloved uncle is convinced she was murdered and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled, yet resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rapace) to investigate. When 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 Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the Vanger family tree, an interview with Actress Noomi Rapace (SD 12:31), the theatrical trailer, and up-front previews.
Reviewed previously in Issue 149, the 1080p 2.35:1 AVC picture is wonderful with a perfectly natural character that accurately captures the bleak Swedish winter landscapes. The cinematography is magnificent, with an excellent dynamic impact. Contrast is excellent, with deep blacks and superb shadow delineation that reveals fine details and depth. Colors are naturally rendered with rich and perfectly balanced hues. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. Resolution is stunning, with revealing facial features and object textures. The imagery is sharp and clear and remarkably descriptive of real environments. This is such a magnificent picture experience that is absolutely engaging. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is superb. While a lossless or PCM version would certainly be more accurate and even more revealing of low-level detail, the sound is intricate and well resolved. The recording quality is excellent, especially the orchestral music score, with its wide and deep soundstage that envelops the surrounds with a subtle but definite presence. The dialogue quality is also superb, with wonderful spatial integration that other filmmakers should emulate. The sound is faithful to the on-screen setting, with the dialogue perfectly scaled to each scene. Atmospheric effects are well integrated, to enhance the spatial soundscape. The preferred soundtrack is the Swedish language one, not the English 5.0-channel dubbed version, which loses the fine balance and spatial integration of the dialogue. Bass extension is not prevalent but provides a solid foundation throughout, for a natural sonic balance. Occasionally, the .1 LFE channel is energized, briefly but powerfully, especially in the climatic scenes. This is an absolutely engaging soundtrack that is very well produced. (Gary Reber)