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FrightFest 2009: Millennium review

 

It begins with Robbie Williams’ hit-single belting over the credits…

Nah, it’s not that kind of film.

Millennium: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a bleak, uncompromising murder mystery, its gripping investigative sequences punctuated by gruelling executions that remain stapled to the back of your eyelids.

Part thriller, part horror movie, almost a Swedish giallo but not quite, this magnificent movie is hard to categorise – and yet it’s our tip to become the new Let The Right One In , a genre film that transcends genre to announce itself as a must-see mainstream hit.

Based on Stieg Larsson’s bestselling novel, Millennium opens with disgraced financial journalist Mikael (Michael Nyqvist) landing a strange-but-enticing assignment: to dig into the disappearance of a teen heiress.

Why so strange? Because the heiress disappeared 40 years ago and the man paying the cheques to reopen the case is her uncle, Henrik Vanger (Sven-Bertil Taube), an ageing patriarch who suspects foul play from somewhere within his fractured, odious dynasty.



Joining Mikael on the trail is Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace, superb), a damaged, dysfunctional computer hacker who has her own demons to chase down. Together they dig, scrape and sift, gradually exhuming not only the Vanger’s family skeletons but, quite possibly, a serial killer who’s still very much in the game…

Set on a remote island and comprised of austere, wintry visuals, Niels Arden Oplev’s intelligent adaptation never pauses for so much as a fogged breath as it rattles through its two-and-a-half hour running time.

Which isn’t to say Millennium is all car chases and waving guns. No, this is a controlled, claustrophobic, character-driven piece, its severity as much as its audacity sure to freeze viewers’ hearts.

Comparisons are sure to be made to Fincher’s Zodiac and Joon–ho Bong’s stunning Memories Of Murder , but the ghosts of, say, Chinatown and The Sopranos also loom large – dramas that cut into the dark hearts of families drenched in violence.

Millennium is an often dazzling film. And, best of all, it’s the first of a trilogy, with The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest already in the can and primed for release.

Millennium: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is screening at FrightFest on Saturday 29 August, at 3.45pm.

It is sponsored by – and will be introduced by – Total Film. To get tickets for Millennium or any of the other 30-odd horror movies showing at FrightFest, go to http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

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