FrightFest 2009: Millennium review

Our FrightFest coverage opens with a world exclusive...


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


    • ashley.russell

      Aug 26th 2009, 15:03

      Good review, I'm really excited to see this, sadly not at frightfest though.

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    • pimpernel

      Aug 26th 2009, 16:07

      Hopefully the film is better than the book. TF I warn you, do not read the book.

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