Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Dec 20, 2011
    38
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is, as you'd expect, rubbish, but the word is slightly too kind. The David Fincher film (like the very similar Swedish one - released in the US just last year! - and the book) is not even good rubbish.
  2. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 20, 2011
    50
    The remake is an altogether leaner, meaner, more high-powered, stylish, and deftly directed affair, though similarly hampered by a too-long narrative fuse.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Dec 20, 2011
    83
    Mara's Salander is the film's lifeblood, a shrewd yet vulnerable outsider whose resilience and pluck help Fincher elevate The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo above the standard procedural. But just barely.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 22, 2011
    70
    Has much to recommend it - high-end craftsmanship, a singular heroine, a labyrinthine mystery, an intriguing milieu - yet lacks a vital spark.
  5. 70
    David Fincher's American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adds nothing to the previous adaptation, but it's certainly the more evocative piece of filmmaking.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 22, 2011
    63
    From him (Fincher), we get – what? – a faithful adaptation that brings the dazzle but shortchanges on the daring.
  7. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Dec 21, 2011
    78
    It's a knockout, sucker punch of a performance, and although it doesn't completely erase the memory of Rapace (and why should it?), Mara's doomy gaze cuts through the hype and bores straight into your soul.
  8. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Dec 21, 2011
    60
    The task of dramatizing this proved too difficult for Niels Arden Oplev when he directed a Swedish adaptation in 2009, but as Fincher demonstrated in "Social Network," he knows how to make information technology eerily seductive. Unfortunately Larsson's salacious plot elements - mass murder, Nazism, and the like - feel just as shallow as they did in the earlier version.
  9. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 20, 2011
    50
    Fincher is a master of mood and atmosphere, but this chilly, efficient movie never transcends the shallowness of its source material.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Dec 20, 2011
    100
    If there's a complaint, it's that it flirts with rambling once the main case is solved -- nearly 20 minutes before the movie ends. But Fincher uses that remaining time to expand on Lisbeth's character, which is hard to hold against him.
  11. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 20, 2011
    100
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo can stand on its own as Fincher's valentine to goth girl power, detective stories, and the grotesqueness of the human heart.
  12. Reviewed by: Calvin Wilson
    Dec 20, 2011
    88
    The film isn't quite as edgy as Fincher's best work - "Seven," "Fight Club" and "Zodiac" are masterpieces of modern angst. But the director brings a fresh eye to what might easily have been an unnecessary rehash of the 2009 Swedish adaptation.
  13. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 20, 2011
    50
    This film's cold, almost robotic conception of Salander as a twitchy, anorexic waif feels more like a stunt than a complete character, and so the best part of the reason we care enough to endure all that mayhem has gone away.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 20, 2011
    88
    Under the direction of David Fincher and with a screenplay by Steven Zaillian. I don't know if it's better or worse. It has a different air.
  15. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Dec 20, 2011
    88
    Fincher's electrifying storytelling makes the most of unsettling visuals, large casts, complex plots and sharp dialogue.
  16. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 20, 2011
    80
    This is an immersive and powerful thriller, driven by terrific leading performances. It's mostly really good and then it wears out its welcome.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 20, 2011
    50
    Seeing Fincher's version is like getting a Christmas gift of a book you already have. This edition has a nicer binding and prettier illustrations than your beloved old paperback, but it's essentially a reproduction of the same old dragon. Dragon Tat-two.
  18. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Dec 20, 2011
    85
    Craig has one clear advantage over Michael Nyqvist, the actor who played the same character in the Swedish Girl movies: He has erotic charisma to spare, as opposed to Nyqvist's perfunctory, doughy sexuality.
  19. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 20, 2011
    88
    Chemistry is one of the few things left filmmakers can't fake with CGI, and the dynamic between Craig and Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is so sensational, it instantly propels the movie beyond glossy, high-toned pulp into something far more affecting.
  20. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Dec 20, 2011
    75
    I don't think I've seen an actor do more with deadpan expressions than Mara does in this movie. Her face doesn't move but, whether she's tasing a man or standing in front of a mirror watching a cigarette dangle from her mouth, we respond to her.
  21. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Dec 20, 2011
    75
    The coolness here has its creepiness, as in the dispassionate way Fincher depicts Lisbeth's rape and her subsequent, harrowing revenge, but the suspicion remains: Fincher didn't make this movie his own because he doesn't consider it his own.
  22. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 19, 2011
    100
    The resulting film is neither better nor worse than the Swedish film, but it's more cinematic.
  23. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Dec 19, 2011
    63
    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo may want it both ways, getting its tawdry kicks while tsk-tsking those who deliver them in real life, but Mara's bristling, unbridled performance gives the film the ballast it needs to pull off that curious, undeniably engrossing, balancing act.
  24. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Dec 19, 2011
    88
    This beautifully taut and terrifying thriller is faithful to its source in just about every way that matters.
  25. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 19, 2011
    50
    There are waves of brilliantly orchestrated anxiety and confusion but also long stretches of drab, hackneyed exposition that flatten the atmosphere. We might be watching "Cold Case" or "Criminal Minds," but with better sound design and more expressive visual techniques.
  26. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Dec 19, 2011
    75
    Not too surprisingly, Fincher doesn't bring his auteur A-game here, though his crafty B-game is better than most. As well, the break-out performance of Rooney Mara as the semi-feral computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, gives the film a residue of authentic anguish.
  27. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Dec 19, 2011
    75
    In any language with anyone at the helm, Lisbeth is still a killer.
  28. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Dec 19, 2011
    75
    There's powerful craft here, and Larsson's story has more than proven its ability to grip. But missing almost entirely is a sense of urgency and discovery.
  29. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Dec 19, 2011
    75
    The most coldly compelling version yet of the tale dreamed up by the late Stieg Larsson.
  30. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 19, 2011
    88
    This film has two of Fincher's happiest trademarks: It's full of information and stretches over a remarkably long time (165 minutes), yet it's neither confusing nor overextended.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 604 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 175
  1. Dec 21, 2011
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. I have special love for the original Swedish version which I listed as my fourth favorite film of 2010. If that movie didn't exist, I may have very different feelings about this one - for good AND for bad. Rooney Mara is terrific in this role, but I don't think she's necessarily better than Noomi. Noomi had that smoldering, caged heat feeling about her. It was more of a masculine slow burn, whereas Rooney is much more feminine, and her character is a bit less focused. Both are solid in their roles, but I think I prefer Noomi's take on it. The Swedish version focuses much more on the the mystery of Harriet's death, and it's much more process-oriented, which I preferred. The Fincher film glosses over much of the detail of that investigation ,and I feel that if I hadn't seen the original, I might have been a bit lost with regard to the family tree, the unlocking of the old photographs, and the tic toc on the day of the car crash on the bridge. I also liked the original's resolution of the murder mystery storyline much more, with Harriet coming back from Australia - the acting and the sense of relief was palpable and enormously satisfying. Comparatively I didn't feel that Christopher Plummer cared nearly as much to see her. Now, on the other hand, the "theft" sequence with Mara draining bank accounts and her subsequent show of real love for Bloomquist at the end was much more fleshed out - and to a more satisfying degree - in the Fincher film. The bottom line for me is that there's nothing like the first time, and this film simply didn't stack up to the power of original which really did cut like a knife. To me, it's a classic. To compare these two to another pair of films - I loved Let The Right One One, the Swedish original, but Let Me In, the American version, stacked up very well against it. It brought something special to the story - perhaps more so than than Fincher's Dragon Tattoo does. ALL this being said, I certainly was entertained by Fincher's movie and recommend it. Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2011
    10
    The best movie I've seen all year. Mara Rooney deserved top billing! Struck me as much as Saving Private Ryan: fascinating to watch, parts ofThe best movie I've seen all year. Mara Rooney deserved top billing! Struck me as much as Saving Private Ryan: fascinating to watch, parts of it were shocking, and I spent a long time thinking about it afterward. Full Review »
  3. Dec 21, 2011
    10
    David Fincher's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is exceptional. I write this having read the novel only one week before. It was amazing toDavid Fincher's "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is exceptional. I write this having read the novel only one week before. It was amazing to see a master filmmaker lend his vision and excellent craft to a story that I truly enjoyed. Fans of the novel will note that a few side-plots are deleted and unfortunately a very revelatory journey at the end of the story is omitted. But the the detailed character development, thriller, mystery, romance (?), and real-life horror elements are all there.

    For a few days I've been reading deprecatory reviews that said this is a "slicker" version than the original Swedish film. They were correct in that it is more streamlined and wrong in that it is the worse for it. The book is 682 pages, how do you fit that into 2.5 hours? The director and screen-writer have to move plot points along at a brisk pace.

    Immediately after seeing Fincher's version I watched the original Swedish movie online. The difference is night and day. I loved the original movie when I saw it in an art-house theater a few years ago. But now that I've seen Fincher's vision? David Fincher and his Director of Photography bring a true cinematic brilliance to what is at first a whodunnit and then turns out to be a mix of emotional character study and real life horror on many levels.

    Daniel Craig as the male lead is great but maybe not as "real" and haggard as Nyqvist in the original film. But the standout of the whole movie, above and beyond the harrowing script, is Rooney Mara's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander.

    Where Noomi Rapace excellently portrayed Salander in the original film as an aggressive punk, Mara conveys social and emotional scars not just through her appearance (peircings and black leather) but also through her physicality and dialogue. Mara's Salander averts her gaze from the world, but when she looks into your eyes you see pain and fear that will quickly turn to aggression. In the original film Salander's sexuality is an extension of her aggressiveness. Here it's a crack in her armor that makes her human. My only complaint is not in the length of the denouement but how the details go by so quickly. All in all, f@#king brilliant. I want to see it again soon.
    Full Review »