In recent screen-adapted crime fiction — Dennis Lehane's Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, for example — detectives are heroes and children are victims. In the trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson, the child victim is the hero. Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the girl of the title, is 20ish, but she looks waiflike (in the book, at least — here she resembles Marilyn Manson), and, as flashbacks suggest, she's had a traumatic childhood.
Now, she's punked out with piercings and Doc Martens. But her chief weapon is the computer that enables her to hack into the past of malefactors, and that's how she comes to team up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), who's investigating the 40-year-old disappearance of a girl from a wealthy family.
Niels Arden Oplev's perfunctory adaptation of Larsson's first book veers from Visconti's The Damned to Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs without the decadence or the thrills of either. In this case, the victim is Larsson.