As for Salander, whose ethernet-laced dreams illustrate the movie's incredible opening credit sequence, she's ripped right from a cyberpunk story circa 1990. From her industrial-punk look to her high tech/lowlife milieu, she could be stalking through the pages of William Gibson's Bridge trilogy - itself a cyberpunk-style story cycle set in the immediate past. Author Larsson, a longtime science fiction fan, would surely have been aware of cyberpunk, and its deep narrative connections with the detective fiction he also adored. As Sasha Mitchell and other critics have said, Salander is surely a cyberpunk heroine.

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But is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a cyberpunk story? If you think of cyberpunk as a purely science fictional subgenre, then no. If, however, cyberpunk is a way of telling stories about the collision between crime, technology, and human augmentation - well, you're about to see the most cyberpunk movie of the year. And yet, like investigative journalism, cyberpunk as a writing style is slowly vanishing. Salander is as much of a retro good guy as Blomqvist is.

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My hunch is that part of what drives the incredible popularity of Larsson's novels, and the many movies based on them, is their dark nostalgia. Enemies and heroes from the recent (and distant) past battle it out in these stories, reassuring us that yesterday's crimes won't go unpunished. Or perhaps more optimistically, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo gives us hope that those who were wronged long ago will finally find some kind of peace.