The Stieg Larsson book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, aka Men Who Hate Women, took Sweden and then Europe by storm, as did its sequels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. The movies, which were released in quick succession in 2009, have proved no less popular; the chilly Swedish thrillers have sold millions of tickets across Europe. (Sadly, the author didn't live long enough to see his books published at all; Larsson died in 2004.)
Americans have wasted no time gobbling up the first two books -- the third is due for a May release here in the States -- and the first movie finally came out on March 19 to critical acclaim. Seems no one can resist uber-hacker and all-around subversive Lisbeth Salander, who inadvertently teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist to solve the mystery of a missing niece in Dragon Tattoo. What they uncover definitely lives up to its original name; you won't even notice the movie is 152 minutes long. Salander is one of the most interesting fictional characters to come along for quite some time, and is successfully translated to film by Noomi Rapace, whose stony glare and sharp cheekbones are only outdone by her ability to fight fire with fire.