If you haven’t read the Stieg Larsson Millenium trilogy, the first of which is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you’d be forgiven – if you’ve been hanging in the 31 square-mile exclusion zone with the last surviving member of that uncontacted Amazonian tribe. The book was a massive global hit, the multiple story-lines rich and satisfying, the unique take on the underbelly of Ikea-and-Volvo country quite astounding; think Nazis, sexual abuse, wife battering, industrial espionage, a forty-year old murder mystery, yadda yadda yadda. And add, of course, a refreshingly off-beat protagonist – the fiercely resistant, Asperger’s-suffering, bi-sexual pierced and tatted Goth Chick super-hacker, Lisbeth Salander – and you’ve got the makings of a 600 page classic. And surprisingly, all of this translates pretty well into the Swedish-language movie staring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace as Salander. Yes, I noticed the things that were left out for the sake of brevity, but the whole thing hangs together damn well.
The Swedish locations are magnificently realised across a couple of seasons, the wintry scenes on the barrier island being the most impressive. Stockholm features prominently at the start of the film – a place I’ve always wanted to visit – but then the action moves to the country, to the fictional town of Hedestad. This is actually Gnesta in Södermanlands län, in the lake country about 60k’s north of Stockholm – although the Vanger family mansion is actually in Erstavik, about 20k’s from the capital. Fortunately Visit Sweden is all over this one: a review of the tour here.