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8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 617 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 35 out of 617

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  1. Jan 14, 2012
    10
    Woefully miscast, Daniel Craig is way too cool and confident for the character part and is one of the main negatives. The other is that the movie attempts to differentiate itself from the original mainly with a faster pace .. which is the general reason US movies suck when compared to European counterparts.
  2. Apr 2, 2012
    6
    Initially one would think it was too soon to remake the original Swedish version of the movie, unless there are people out there who find reading English subtitles objectionable. This film was definitely in English, presenting the typical Hollywood paradox of how to indicate that the characters are really of another linguistic background. This has been a problem since the first war moviesInitially one would think it was too soon to remake the original Swedish version of the movie, unless there are people out there who find reading English subtitles objectionable. This film was definitely in English, presenting the typical Hollywood paradox of how to indicate that the characters are really of another linguistic background. This has been a problem since the first war movies where the Nazis are speaking English, usually with a German accent, and occasionally cursing in German. In this movie, the Swedish persona is communicated partly with the British accents of Daniel Craig and Joely Richardson and an occasional toast of Skol! Stellan Skarsgard, in the pivotal role of Martin Vanger, is one of the few speaking English with a Swedish accent. Americans Robin Wright and Rooney Mara have the added challenge of reciting their lines with a vaguely British accent to indicate they are Swedish. The bad guy in the gruesome rape scene is a Dutchman speaking English, and Christopher Plummer is actually Canadian, but speaks with such slow, deliberate elegance, you think he's Swedish. It gets complicated. Background signs and coffee mugs are all in Swedish, since the film was shot in Sweden. But having decided to remake the movie, the film is there to be watched (or rented), and it does compare well to the intensity and drama of the original Swedish production. Some of the story details have been changed, to no purpose, for the alterations neither downgrade nor enhance the quality of the narrative. The best reason to see this film is to watch the performance of Rooney Mara, a newcomer, who in a previous life shows up in Internet photos looking like a sweet and innocent child with long, dark hair. She has transformed herself inside out, practically changing her skin to become Lisbeth Salander. If you saw the original, you won't even remember Noomi Rapace in the same role, because Rooney Mara's intensity just wipes out all previous recollections. The artful cinematography aptly describes the bleak, desolate landscape of a Swedish winter. But the main drawback is the same one that flawed the previous version--the brutality of the rape scene is too graphic and too realistic. Cinema is art, and graphic brutality does nothing for the artistic vision being so carefully constructed on the screen. This kind of explicit rendering puts the film on the same level as inferior-quality films that do not aspire to be high art. It's a huge blotch in the middle of the film. The torture chamber at the end is also problematic. Somehow these plot elements have to be suggested rather than depicted, and I'm not sure how that would be done. But then I'm not getting paid barrels of cash to make this movie. And yes, it was a faux pas to release Dragon Tattoo just a few days before Christmas, but fortunately, the box office receipts recovered nicely from that marketing mistake. Expand
  3. Jan 1, 2012
    8
    It seems sacrilegious to suggest this, but I enjoyed it more than the Swedish film: a greater sense of tension is created and Rooney Mara is much closer to how I pictured Lisbeth when reading the book than Noomi Rapace. And it is not a remake of that film...it is a different dramatisation of the book IMO. And a better one!
  4. Feb 13, 2012
    9
    What a bloody brilliant film.....I've not read the books or seen the Swedish versions but I was utterly transfixed from go to woe......
    This is by far my film of the year thus far.
  5. Jan 7, 2012
    7
    I thought this movie was decent. It just didn't live up to its Swedish counterpart or the expectations I had for it. The complexity and mystery of the movie were handicapped by the standard American strategy of bludgeoning the viewer over the head with every significant fact. This, for a Hollywood move, was pretty good though overall.
  6. Nov 1, 2013
    10
    It’s quite an accomplishment when a fine young actress with lesser known credentials than her A-List co-star, manages to steal the spotlight away in dramatic fashion, Rooney Mara does exactly that to Daniel Craig, this remake of the 2009 Swedish film packs quite the punch in terms of mystery and intrigue, it drew me in with the separate storylines which eventually intertwined, but the leadIt’s quite an accomplishment when a fine young actress with lesser known credentials than her A-List co-star, manages to steal the spotlight away in dramatic fashion, Rooney Mara does exactly that to Daniel Craig, this remake of the 2009 Swedish film packs quite the punch in terms of mystery and intrigue, it drew me in with the separate storylines which eventually intertwined, but the lead performances are the real gold stars of the film. Lisbeth Solander is the girl in question, and what a fascinating specimen this girl is, underneath the gothic clothing, erratic eating and one night stands, Solander has a brilliant mind, but a fragile state is the even ground, we know that she has been raising herself from a young age, she does what she wants and really because she can, dresses as she does probably due to a lack of opinion from others and has taught herself to remain alone and isolated from society, yet when she is faced with a problem she will try her hardest to figure out a way around it, including her appointed guardian (Yorick van Wageningen) abusing her to the point of desperation, she isn’t a girl to be taken lightly, but she finds an unlikely friend in the man she was hired to investigate earlier, Mikael Blomkvist (Craig), who has his own problems. His story picks up surrounding a court battle which he has little chance of coming out on top, he decides to help out an old and tiring millionaire called Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) who lives on a private island, cut off from the mainland, he hopes journalist Blomkvist will help him try and solve the disappearance and probable death of his niece Harriet 40 years earlier, but when Blomkvist starts to dig, he realises the mess the family is in, relatives not speaking to each other, Nazi beliefs, estranged children and how clues seem to lead back to one or the other, a family matter indeed. The paths of the two leads cross as Blomkvist seeks the help of the young Solander, and their unorthodox relationship ensues.
    The film has much more than what it is at first glance, its a fascinating script with excellent performances being brought to life through the likes of Stellan Skarsgärd and Steven Berkoff, they all have secrets and unknown tales in their secluded island, but they all want to know why now? Why look for clues to the young girl now? Director David Fincher has a talent for making the little details count, the smoking habits, the sexual nature of the characters and the seclusion of it all, he captures the mood of a typically murky and gritty time with a beaten cottage beside a lake with snow falling heavily to the ground, the two leads come from very different lives, yet wind up on the hunt for a potential murderer on a secluded island. Mara holds her own with edgy brilliance and the damaged genius of Solander, Craig is a confident individual passes this to Mikael Blomkvist, a man who had it all but let his status get the better of him, Solander could be the very thing to bring him back down. This is a fascinating thriller that rightfully relies on its characters to spark the mystery of the story, its smart, intriguing and offers a different view in terms of heroic actions from unlikely individuals.
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  7. Jan 2, 2012
    8
    By no means did I think this was a bad movie per say; however, I can say with complete confidence that it was not what I expected. This movie is not safe for children everyone, so don't bring your kids; it's a mature thriller with a lot of sex, graphic violence, and disturbing moments. Overall, this movie was good, not great, but enjoyable nonetheless to any fan of cinema. Rooney Mara didBy no means did I think this was a bad movie per say; however, I can say with complete confidence that it was not what I expected. This movie is not safe for children everyone, so don't bring your kids; it's a mature thriller with a lot of sex, graphic violence, and disturbing moments. Overall, this movie was good, not great, but enjoyable nonetheless to any fan of cinema. Rooney Mara did a great job in her role of Lisbeth Salander, which I don't believe many people could pull off with so convincingly. I also believe Craig did a good enough job in the moments when he needed to portray emotion, but overall his character didn't truly stand out. The rest of the actors did a well enough job with their respective characters, but no other stand outs were really present. The plot is the true show here. Based on the novel of the same name, I was very captivated by the amount of immersion and detail was in this film. That can mainly be attributed to the two and a half hour runtime, which I'm sure has many potential viewers on edge. If you're willing to sit through the somewhat slow opening of Mara's character, it really picks up about an hour in and you are treated with some great interactions between Lisbeth and Mikael. The pacing, I'm sure, will appeal to many people; it's fast and entertaining. Personally, I'm not a huge fan because it can lead to unrealistic conversations and can be a bit hard to follow how characters reach certain conclusions, but it shouldn't bother most people. Fincher does a fantastic job directing as he does in all his films. This movie does hold similar "dark" tendencies to other Fincher-directed movies like Se7en and Fight Club, but there are definitely moments when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo exceeds them. I cannot personally vouch for the movies accuracy to the original novel; however, I heard from my sister that she believed that for the most part it was close to the book, but there were a few parts where it wasn't and really confused her. Given Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's previous work in The Social Network, I had high hopes for the score of Fincher's latest. I can't necessarily say I was disappointed with the score, but it didn't fully immerse me like The Social Network's brilliant score. Given Lisbeth's detestable behavior and character, it's shows pure talent how Fincher is able to connect us with her and care about her, at all for that matter. And by the end, you'll really feel for her in the sequel preparing conclusion. With everything accounted, this movie definitely has some faults and some confusing moments, but I found it to be very entertaining (albeit very dark), gripping, and definitely not feeling like two and a half hours. But I must once again stress the point: DO NOT BRING KIDS TO THIS MOVIE. Expand
  8. Dec 30, 2011
    10
    This film is great I wish I didn't see the Swedish version cause I hated knowing what was gonna happen but I have to believe for the people who didn't see it it was amazing..
  9. Jan 25, 2012
    7
    Having viewed the Swedish Millennium Trilogy, I have newfound respect for Fincher and Zallian's Dragon Tattoo film. It's impeccably shot(as expected), but I think they made many good choices as it relates to improving the source material(cinematically speaking). I even think they improved the latter narrative and suspense in most cases. The trouble with the Dragon Tattoo movie is theHaving viewed the Swedish Millennium Trilogy, I have newfound respect for Fincher and Zallian's Dragon Tattoo film. It's impeccably shot(as expected), but I think they made many good choices as it relates to improving the source material(cinematically speaking). I even think they improved the latter narrative and suspense in most cases. The trouble with the Dragon Tattoo movie is the pacing between Salander and Blomvquist; it's jumpy and at times unnecessarily speedy. It also tries to much to adhere to the source material, when I think they could have made a few more changes and cranked up the 2 hrs and 44 minutes into some more meaty details regarding the plot. I hope they radically change films two and three if the trilogy is going to be remade. The Swedish/Danish production falls flat by film 3 in a big way, and Lisbeth Salander character deserves a better story. Expand
  10. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    Return of the Jed.. Fincher. I loved the swedish trilogy, and my favourite books are Stieg Larsson's creations. Noomi Rapace was the perfect Lisbeth for me, and I didn't like Rooney Mara before.. But.. It's a great movie! Mara is brilliant, and Craig is better Mikael Blomkvist than (my favourite swedish actor) Michael Nyqvist. Fincher is back!
  11. Jan 28, 2012
    9
    out of DETECTIVE movies...sherlock holmes, tinker and Dragon tattoo..this one is the best by far...will keep you guessing and the chilly baltic sea locales will keep you extra chilled.
  12. Jan 22, 2012
    8
    Well this movie, pretty much answers any cynics that it could never top the original. The director pretty much did not care and gave the movie a personality that makes an almost perfect thriller. It's weird that the changes from the original movie and the source of it all, make this a great movie, which is tidied up to focus on whose the killer rather than the bigger, more complicatedWell this movie, pretty much answers any cynics that it could never top the original. The director pretty much did not care and gave the movie a personality that makes an almost perfect thriller. It's weird that the changes from the original movie and the source of it all, make this a great movie, which is tidied up to focus on whose the killer rather than the bigger, more complicated picture. Craig and Plummer provide two great characters which are easy to like. Mara is great as well and provides a different side of Lisbeth than Repace. This movie can also sum up all of Fincher's work...this is how varied it all is. It could be almost perfect if it weren't for the final part. It opens up to the possibility of a trilogy and ends kind of stale, because the movie already climaxed and kind of doesn't want to end. Expand
  13. Jan 7, 2012
    10
    This is a great movie, highly recommend all to watch it. I saw both this version and the Swedish version, The English version was WAY superior. I cannot wait to read the book.
  14. Dec 27, 2011
    7
    While it's certainly not as great of film as the Swedish version, this American remake still provides an intriguing mystery even if the plot points have all been covered before. The movie is over two hours long, but with the storyline and Fincher's pacing, the whole movie goes by rather fast. I already knew the storyline, and I never felt the movie drag. I can only imagine how fast thisWhile it's certainly not as great of film as the Swedish version, this American remake still provides an intriguing mystery even if the plot points have all been covered before. The movie is over two hours long, but with the storyline and Fincher's pacing, the whole movie goes by rather fast. I already knew the storyline, and I never felt the movie drag. I can only imagine how fast this movie would fly for those unfamiliar with it. The performances are also solid. Craig plays a good Blomkvist, but the real standout is Rooney Mara. When I heard that "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" was getting an American version, my prime concern was who would play Lisbeth Salander as credibly as Noomi Rapace did in the Swedish film. Then when I found out Mara was cast, I had my doubts. It was kind of like when I heard Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker in "The Dark Knight." But just like Ledger, Mara turned all of my doubts away the second she appeared in the film. I'm not going to go so far as to say I liked her better than Rapace, but the fact that she was able to go toe-to-toe with her was pretty damn impressive. She definitely has an exciting career ahead of her after giving one of the most transformational performances of the year. In fact, she is pretty much the only reason to see this if you have read the books or seen the Swedish film. If you haven't seen the Swedish movie be sure to do so before you see this. Like I mentioned before, the mystery here is intriguing, but in the Swedish version it is absolutely fascinating, and it all has to do with the pacing. Yes, the pacing is faster here causing the running time to breeze by. But the Swedish version played it smart. It took its time slowly enveloping you in the mystery. This is an element that's missing here, and it constantly keeps this version from reaching greatness. Also, Fincher spends far too much time developing a subplot at the very end. The Swedish version wrapped up the same subplot in a shorter amount of time, giving us the exact same information in a more efficient and focused way. What I would recommend is this. First, rent the Swedish movie and avoid seeing this in theaters. Then, rent this version when it comes out on DVD. It'll make for an interesting comparison to see how two expert directors (one unproven, the other legendary) helm the same story. Expand
  15. Jul 30, 2012
    10
    A remake done really well that complies with the plot and understand when it is terrible violence suffered by women and when they are horrible people who violate them. Excellent photography and the dark atmosphere and dramatic film, fantastic actors especially that of Rooney Mara, who has managed to give us a wonderful interpretation of Lisbeth.
  16. Jan 30, 2012
    10
    This movie was just brilliant. Arguably my favorite movie of the year David Fincher brought us something that only be described as cinematic art. Fincher struck gold with his Lisbeth, Rooney Mara. She steals the show as is made obvious by her much deserved Oscar nomination. She really should win in my opinion but probably won't because the Academy messes up most of the time. Really just aThis movie was just brilliant. Arguably my favorite movie of the year David Fincher brought us something that only be described as cinematic art. Fincher struck gold with his Lisbeth, Rooney Mara. She steals the show as is made obvious by her much deserved Oscar nomination. She really should win in my opinion but probably won't because the Academy messes up most of the time. Really just a beautifully written, perfectly acted, and professionally directed work of art. Perfect. Expand
  17. Jun 9, 2013
    7
    meh, not really that much to say about this, it's enjoyable and adequately paced. having a boring tuesday afternoon and apparently nothing better to do watch this
  18. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    Does the international sensation The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo live up to all the hype? In my estimation, no! There is no denying that the story is amazing. The book may be amazing, and the original Swedish version of the film might be equally amazing, but David Fincher's adaptation of it is not. From the very beginning it seems as thou he's trying to turn this story into something it'sDoes the international sensation The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo live up to all the hype? In my estimation, no! There is no denying that the story is amazing. The book may be amazing, and the original Swedish version of the film might be equally amazing, but David Fincher's adaptation of it is not. From the very beginning it seems as thou he's trying to turn this story into something it's not, a sequel to Seven. The story is fantastic, however, there are so many odd names and so many mumbled lines thrown at you so quickly, that you're easily confused. At many points in this film I was confused, and even when the killer was revealed, my reaction was "which one is that?" Besides being confusing, the film has about an hour of footage that has nothing to do with the main story and just adds to the overall confusion of the film. Like I said, the story is really good, the actors were really good also, but the film was just very long and confusing, and to be honest, I really wasn't all that impressed by it. Expand
  19. Jan 13, 2012
    7
    Although a negligible amount of minutes longer than the Swedish version, it has so many extra parts that are totally not necessary and detract from the main aspects of the film. I found the final act particularly dragging. The film was also too glossy for such a gritty story. That said, it is still a decent film due to the source material and overall good acting
  20. Jan 29, 2012
    9
    Millenium trilogy? What's that? I haven't read Larsson's books, I haven't seen the previous movies. Probably that's why I'm able to give this movie a sound 9. I don't care if this is a good adaptation of Larsson's book. What I can say is that I was simply captivated by this movie for 2,5 hours. The plot is good, makes you wonder, fear, doubt, and shock all the time. The gloomy atmosphereMillenium trilogy? What's that? I haven't read Larsson's books, I haven't seen the previous movies. Probably that's why I'm able to give this movie a sound 9. I don't care if this is a good adaptation of Larsson's book. What I can say is that I was simply captivated by this movie for 2,5 hours. The plot is good, makes you wonder, fear, doubt, and shock all the time. The gloomy atmosphere of a Northern Swedish town with a lingering mystery that surrounds the Vangners' possession is overwhelming and well presented. Trent Reznor's music is just great in stressing the hideous danger that creeps literally out of everything: iMacs, forests, photographs, neat Swedish homes etc. The acting of Craig is good (and just that), while the critic appraisals for Mara's performance are justified -- she is truly mesmerizing as Lisbeth Salander, and her acting, in which she speaks more with her eyes than actually words, is fantastic. The director of photography and the editing team did also a great job: fast-changing scenes truly capture all the necessary elements, gestures, and moments. What are you waiting for? Go watch it! Expand
  21. Jan 4, 2012
    8
    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    My first review on Metacritic and I couldn't be happier it's a David Fincher film. Not his best work, I'll reserve that for Fight Club and Se7en, but on par with his work on Zodiac and The Social Network. In fact, think of this as Zodiac with some flashes of Se7en depravity. Daniel Craig is solid as always but the film soars with Rooney Mara's
    Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    My first review on Metacritic and I couldn't be happier it's a David Fincher film. Not his best work, I'll reserve that for Fight Club and Se7en, but on par with his work on Zodiac and The Social Network.

    In fact, think of this as Zodiac with some flashes of Se7en depravity.

    Daniel Craig is solid as always but the film soars with Rooney Mara's Lisbeth Salander. I literally couldn't keep my eyes off her. Yes, Noomi Rapace was also great in the French version, but Mara's Salander is much more damaged, more timid, and in turn, scarier.

    Others have bemoaned the film's final act but I didn't mind it; mainly because of the final scene. Pitch perfect, and beautifully sets up the next film.
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  22. Jan 4, 2012
    7
    This is a very complicated case. Basically, this is a well done remake of a well done foreign film. Fincher played it safe with this one. I don't think he surpassed the original aside from the soundtrack. Ignoring that this was Fincher and the exceptional original film, I would give it 9/10. Considering that this was Fincher and a perfectly good Swedish film exists, I give it 7/10.
  23. Jan 8, 2012
    9
    After seeing the film, I was left with the impression that you only truly get to understand and enjoy this film if you have read the book before hand. I got the feeling that if I hadn't read the book, I would be left confused and unable to appreciate everything that happened. Having said that, I was intrigued to see how the story would be condensed into a film, and enjoyed thisAfter seeing the film, I was left with the impression that you only truly get to understand and enjoy this film if you have read the book before hand. I got the feeling that if I hadn't read the book, I would be left confused and unable to appreciate everything that happened. Having said that, I was intrigued to see how the story would be condensed into a film, and enjoyed this interpretation immensely. The cast are very good, and Rooney Mara was brilliant as Lisbeth Salander. Would recommend highly! Expand
  24. Jan 8, 2012
    7
    Being a fan both of the books and the Swedish film, I found it very hard to objectively review the American version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Over Xmas I got my hands on the original extended version of the Swedish films (9 hour miniseries) which I am in the process of making my way through. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of days between seeing the Swedish version and theBeing a fan both of the books and the Swedish film, I found it very hard to objectively review the American version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Over Xmas I got my hands on the original extended version of the Swedish films (9 hour miniseries) which I am in the process of making my way through. Unfortunately, it was only a matter of days between seeing the Swedish version and the American version in the Theatre. It was very hard to look past all of the small differences made for the American film. There were some really good aspects to the American film that are worth mentioning. I definitely felt that both the tone, music and cinematography of David Fincher's Film was superior to the Swedish film. I also enjoyed both Stellan Skarsgard and Daniel Craig's performances. I think anyone who goes to see this film, who has not yet been exposed to either the books or the Swedish movie will be blown away by it. There were a few annoyances thought - and if you have seen the other film or read the book - it may reduce your enjoyment of the film. The terrible accents were a distraction. I hated that they gave Mikhail's character a daughter (I can't help but feel that this was only added to satisfy some censor's want to show the negative consequence of Mikhail's womanizing) and I liked the harder Lisbeth of the Swedish version (not that Rooney Mara was weak, or that her acting was bad, but she came across a bit softer than Rapace's Lisbeth). That said I think it was still a very good film. Expand
  25. Jan 18, 2012
    8
    David Fincher never fails me, even including the underwhelming THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (2008) (which I think I seriously need a re-watch), the American remake of THWTDT is as excellent as its Swedish archetype if not excels in every aspect. Karen Oâ
  26. Jan 10, 2012
    7
    The movie wasn't perfect, but it was good. The actors were amazing and Lisbeth Salander came to life in my opinion. At first I thought a lot of the book was left out, but if you have read the book you can tell why a lo was left out, yet the movie was still almost three hours. See it.
  27. Jan 11, 2012
    8
    Not nearly as dark as Id hoped, but a really great movie regardless. I can't wait to read the novel, which as always I hear is better. Someone said this is a remake of a foreign film; I saw this one on a lark with a friend the other day - had no idea!
  28. Jan 11, 2012
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is an incredible movie. Having seen the original Swedish version of the movie I was able to compare them both. Both takes on Lisbeth Salander are amazing and each actress brings something a little different to the role that's one of the most difficult characters to play in any movie in a while. The U.S. version of the film is more stylish and clean than the original - the opening credits play like a James Bond opener complete with a cover of a Led Zeppelin song by the always awesome Karen O. In addition, Fincher adds an extra 20 minutes to the movie after the big climax that work perfectly to extend on Lisbeth as a character. While this also works as a more elaborate ending wind-down than the original, I agree with the critic that said that neither movie is superior to the other as they compliment each other very well and ultimately make for an even more solid understanding and likability of the story and characters. That being said, you don't have to have seen the original to enjoy this movie. It's still hard not to get wrapped up in the mysterious case until the very end and find compassion for Lisbeth as the movie unfolds. But while there are so many good things about the movie just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into by seeing it - there are multiple scenes that are difficult to watch but are equally as necessary to the story... maybe not the dismembered cat, though. But once you get passed the darker scenes what you're left with is an incredible story and film with gifted actors and actresses portraying characters who, regardless of appearance, prove to be incredibly human. Rooney Mara's take on Lisbeth is easily the standout of the film as she brings a needed vulnerability to the role but commands your attention every time she's on screen - I couldn't take my eyes off her. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it'll be very hard to find any complaints with David Fincher's take on 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'. It's easily worth seeing again and I can't wait for the much-needed sequels in the, hopefully, near future. Expand
  29. Jan 26, 2012
    6
    I was a little disappointed with this. I'm a huge Fincher fan, recently The Social Network really surprised me considering it's dull subject matter, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat.

    This however, I found fairly dull. The payoffs were pretty week, the casting rather dry. I found the score lacking at times, and far more of it was predictable than should've been. The
    I was a little disappointed with this. I'm a huge Fincher fan, recently The Social Network really surprised me considering it's dull subject matter, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat.

    This however, I found fairly dull. The payoffs were pretty week, the casting rather dry. I found the score lacking at times, and far more of it was predictable than should've been. The relationship was poorly developed, and it's not something I'd recommend to either Hollywood fans, or fans of good cinema. It wasn't a bad movie at all, but it just wasn't particularly remarkable in any way.
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  30. Jan 15, 2012
    8
    Well, I can't help comparing it to the sweedish version which I loved. I loved the first half of this one betterr but. Was just not as satisfied at the end I was confused with the last half hour, I need to see it again. Over all great movie and definetly worth seeing. Extremlygraphic and disturbing at times...be prepared.
  31. Apr 6, 2012
    7
    This is an engagind movie, yet, that is all it is. I heard so much about it! I thought it would be original and gripping, not just a fun, 'refined' cliche but what I found was that even though it has good elements, The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo is still little more than an average movie. This film recurs to stereotypical situations and characters to create tension. They are wellThis is an engagind movie, yet, that is all it is. I heard so much about it! I thought it would be original and gripping, not just a fun, 'refined' cliche but what I found was that even though it has good elements, The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo is still little more than an average movie. This film recurs to stereotypical situations and characters to create tension. They are well developed but the movie lacks depth. Still, I enjoyed it so I went and rented the 2nd and 3rd sequels They were bad! Truly disappointing...Boring!. This one at least, has a defined plot and keeps the suspense until the end. Expand
  32. Jan 21, 2012
    9
    I'm one of those snobs who feels like the original Swedish version was a little better. The first half of this version felt rushed while the latter half seemed extended--drawn out for every minute it was worth. I did think the casting was superb and was glad they didn't water down the sensitive parts for the American audience. All in all a solid effort.
  33. Apr 1, 2012
    7
    I liked it. Solid performances by the cast. It was an interesting mystery that was nice to see unfold. I think the huge flaw of the movie is that it was a bit too long for my taste. Other than that, It was good.
  34. Jan 28, 2012
    10
    Undoubtedly, the best motion picture of the year. Besides the great screenplay and perfect music it has magnificent view in every moment. Outstanding performance of Rooney Mara made this film. It is more than thriller, more than drama. It is the whole life in the one film.
  35. Jan 29, 2012
    9
    This movie exceeds my expectations of my all-time favorite book. When seeing it, I was worried that it would be a rehashed clone of the Swedish hit movie, but, to my delight, I was wrong. Once the opening credits started, I knew I was in for the ride of my life. This movie, led by supreme acting by Mara Rooney, is artistic and moody. It is deeply disturbing, and does not shy away from itsThis movie exceeds my expectations of my all-time favorite book. When seeing it, I was worried that it would be a rehashed clone of the Swedish hit movie, but, to my delight, I was wrong. Once the opening credits started, I knew I was in for the ride of my life. This movie, led by supreme acting by Mara Rooney, is artistic and moody. It is deeply disturbing, and does not shy away from its dark subject matter. The only complaint I can say is that for a movie set in Sweden, the accents are from all over the world. Daniel Craig never drops his British accent, and even Stellan Skarsgard lacks a Swedish accent. Only Mara Rooney embraces the role completely, and takes the movie from a good movie and ensures it to be a mind-blowing movie. Expand
  36. Jan 31, 2012
    9
    An amazing movie: definitely one of the best of the year of 2011. Craig and Mara were gods... A truly great thriller. The opening scene is perfectely obscure and awesome; its even appropriated to say: legendary! The movie begins very calm and starts to speed up. David Fincher - I did not liked that much The Social Network, but this one? This one you got it right. Keep up the good workAn amazing movie: definitely one of the best of the year of 2011. Craig and Mara were gods... A truly great thriller. The opening scene is perfectely obscure and awesome; its even appropriated to say: legendary! The movie begins very calm and starts to speed up. David Fincher - I did not liked that much The Social Network, but this one? This one you got it right. Keep up the good work (like Benjamin Button and Fight Club...)! I strongly recommend! Expand
  37. Feb 3, 2012
    10
    Best remake so far,,if you already watched the original dont watch it anymore,,Rooney Mara was awesome,very good acting,,she deserve an oscar for this,,Daniel Craig very good,,and a cool opening,,thuoght i was watching james bond filmm..
  38. Feb 4, 2012
    7
    Rooney Mara vs. Noomi Rapace, that is the question. There is no real way to review this movie for me without comparing the two versions. I really love the Swedish version, so I was a little hesitant about seeing the American remake. However, a friend told me that is was good, and I should see it, so I did. This is what I think; the American remake is a solid movie, and in some casesRooney Mara vs. Noomi Rapace, that is the question. There is no real way to review this movie for me without comparing the two versions. I really love the Swedish version, so I was a little hesitant about seeing the American remake. However, a friend told me that is was good, and I should see it, so I did. This is what I think; the American remake is a solid movie, and in some cases it may be more true to the book (thatâ Expand
  39. Feb 15, 2012
    8
    David Fincher doesn't need great source material to turn in celluloid excellence: The Social Network proved that if one does than something great will occur, but the original 'Dragon Tattoo' novels are not such material. The Swedish adaptation left me cold feeling back in 2009, but given Fincher's track record, I felt like I owed this film a shot. When the opening scene of the film opensDavid Fincher doesn't need great source material to turn in celluloid excellence: The Social Network proved that if one does than something great will occur, but the original 'Dragon Tattoo' novels are not such material. The Swedish adaptation left me cold feeling back in 2009, but given Fincher's track record, I felt like I owed this film a shot. When the opening scene of the film opens with Vanger's phone call, I started to get antsy, is this going to be a shot-for-shot redux? No. No, it's not. The pulsing opening credits scored to Karen O's "The Immigrant Song" made me quite aware of that.

    Harriet Vanger has been missing for the better part of forty years, given that piece of information the fact that Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) keeps receiving portraits from his niece is disconcerting. Enter Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig). Facing a major libel suit and perhaps jail time, the last thing the journalist wants to do is add another opportunity to be wrong again.

    Before Vanger hands the investigation over to Blomkvist to find out why Harriet may have disappearedâ
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  40. Feb 19, 2012
    10
    David Fincher's great direction...
    Rooney Mara's remarkable performance...
    Steven Zailian's well-written screenplay...
    Easily one of the best works Fincher has done...
  41. Mar 3, 2012
    8
    Hopefully is the best movie of 2011, quite interesting script, two characters as different as they seems, a perfect combination as a team. Just one well done movie.
  42. Mar 7, 2012
    10
    This movie is a modern masterpiece. Incredibly well done, with amazing performances and a golden direction from David Ficher. Far superior than the swedish version in all the possible ways, and true to the book, this is what Dragon Tattoo fans were waiting for.
  43. Apr 12, 2012
    5
    I loved that some of the cast went for scandinavian lilts to their accents, and some of them didn't. She's great, but the whole thing is such obvious trash, that the director's good taste and desire for realism makes the whole thing a bummer instead of a juicy guilty pleasure. Definitely a miss, despite the craft on display.
  44. Aug 1, 2012
    7
    Simply put, good but not amazing. I prefer the original miniseries from Sweden (the 6-part series, not the condensed 3 films, which remove almost 1 hour of content). While this was faithful for the script, one of the main problems for me was the English language, as it does not fit the setting of the film and loses some of the realism and grit present in the originals. That being said,Simply put, good but not amazing. I prefer the original miniseries from Sweden (the 6-part series, not the condensed 3 films, which remove almost 1 hour of content). While this was faithful for the script, one of the main problems for me was the English language, as it does not fit the setting of the film and loses some of the realism and grit present in the originals. That being said, Craig and Mara are a convincing pair, which makes this a good alternative for people who dislike reading subtitles. Expand
  45. Mar 14, 2012
    8
    This movie may not be perfect but it definitely grows on you, and Fincher has still got it. Rooney Mara, who bagged two nominations (the Golden Globes and the Oscars as well) for her goth-punk character Lisbeth Salander, pours her heart and soul into it . Her performance is the best part of the movie. But mind you, this movie isn't for the faint of heart, But a must watch for Rooney'sThis movie may not be perfect but it definitely grows on you, and Fincher has still got it. Rooney Mara, who bagged two nominations (the Golden Globes and the Oscars as well) for her goth-punk character Lisbeth Salander, pours her heart and soul into it . Her performance is the best part of the movie. But mind you, this movie isn't for the faint of heart, But a must watch for Rooney's Electrifying performance as Lisbeth! Expand
  46. Mar 16, 2012
    10
    LOVED THE CASTING. DAVID FINCHERS PERSONAL TWIST. ALL OF IT. Haven't read the books or the seen the first takes of the films, but I loved this one and hopes Fincher signs on to Direct the second and so on and so forth.
  47. Feb 5, 2013
    8
    I liked this movie. The whole investigation is so captivating and casts were great. Rooney Mara is just amazing being Lisbeth, so real and raw. I totally believed that person that she is. Plot and script were also good. Although some parts can be quite boring, but you just can't take your eyes away from Lisbeth, the girl with the dragon tattoo.
  48. Nov 11, 2012
    8
    Why did I watch it?
    I am a massive fan of Steig Larsson's series of books so I was keen to see Hollywood's take on the story. I've haven't seen the original Swedish versions of the films yet.
    What's it all about? Based on the book of the same name and set in Sweden, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tells the story of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and extrovert
    Why did I watch it?
    I am a massive fan of Steig Larsson's series of books so I was keen to see Hollywood's take on the story. I've haven't seen the original Swedish versions of the films yet.

    What's it all about?
    Based on the book of the same name and set in Sweden, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tells the story of disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and extrovert freelance researcher Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) investigate the disappearance of teenager Harriet Vanger decades earlier. As the pair attempt to hunt down the murderer they become entangled in an estranged family with shady history.

    Should you watch it?
    TGWTDT is essentially a cold case whodunit but what sets the story apart is not the complexity of the wealthy Vanger family and their whereabouts on that day but the characters investigating the mystery. Blomkvist is fresh from losing a libel lawsuit and accepts the case as a sabbatical from work while Lisbeth Salander is now probably one of the most iconic female characters of recent times. A gifted researcher and computer hacker under state guardianship due to a chequered adolescence, Salander only enters the story in its main sense half way through. The first half introduces her character's issues, her initiative and resolve in the face of difficulty. Despite being a whodunit, as the title suggests, the story is really about Salander.

    I enjoyed the US film version and thought David Fincher managed to do the book justice squeezing just enough detail from the book into the two and half hours without compromising some of the more extreme scenes. I was concerned that some of the complexity of the various generations of the Vanger family would be lost in the translation from book to film but Fincher managed to explain this carefully enough with visual aids for it to get across to the audience.

    The faults with the film are similar to the book in that the postscript ending seems just as tagged onto the end but this is a small gripe and it rests with Larsson's decision to set up the next instalment here. Rooney Mara is excellent as Salander, and the production team did a great job designing her appearance true to the story.
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  49. Mar 29, 2012
    8
    Good. Love the actors and the the tone of the movie. Its has some plot issues. It can be watched but don't really let under 17 people watched as they will either be board or just freak out as is a complex story.
  50. Mar 29, 2012
    10
    The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo es la mejor pelicula que he visto desde hace mas de un año. La actuacion de Rooney Mara es perfecta y magistral. Daniel Craig nos da otra solida demostracion de su talento y es aun mejor que la version sueca. Me encanto y aunque dura casi 3 horas me parecio intrigante y inteligente.
  51. Apr 11, 2012
    10
    Engaging, intelligent, fantastic performances all round, masterfully shot and directed, David Fincher didn't put a foot wrong with this beautifully crafted thriller.
  52. Apr 24, 2012
    9
    Great movie! I have not yet read the books, but I definitely did not expect the plot to be what it was. Mara Rooney was fantastic as well! I think that her role was very inspirational for women, and definitely got my adrenaline going, that's what makes a good movie-when the audience can connect with the actors through emotions and actions. Can't wait to read the books!
  53. May 22, 2012
    8
    Another Fincher classic, that's all I could think after leaving this film feeling satisfied as always. I had not seen the original Swedish film before I saw this (I did a few weeks after), and found that both had definite strengths and weaknesses. Call me a sucker for Fincher's style, but I preferred this version. Mara is perfect, Daniel Craig is charming and reeks of class as always,Another Fincher classic, that's all I could think after leaving this film feeling satisfied as always. I had not seen the original Swedish film before I saw this (I did a few weeks after), and found that both had definite strengths and weaknesses. Call me a sucker for Fincher's style, but I preferred this version. Mara is perfect, Daniel Craig is charming and reeks of class as always, and everyone else is absolutely top notch. The process of the investigation leading up to the climax is all masterfully done by Fincher, he demonstrates further that there is no one better at building modern murder mysteries. The only instance in which this film falters is the last 20 minutes, after an intense climax and satisfying resolution we are treated to more of the story. It feels a little drudging and after dealing with so much ferocity in the last two hours it was difficult to become invested in the separate story (introduced in the very beginning for Craig's character). Either way, this is required viewing for any Fincher fan. Expand
  54. May 19, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Yes, I have watched the 2009 Swedish film. Yes, I have read the book trilogy. No, I do not think David Fincher's adaptation is worse than the Swedish film. It does not mean I think it is great either. However hard it must've been to adapt Stieg Larsson's trilogy to the big screen, I feel this film came closer to achieving the goal than the Swedish version, which - and I'm not speaking metaphorically - made me fall asleep (and I'm used to watching Bergman in Swedish!). The characters are well constructed, and I feel the actors playing them are better suited than the ones in the previous version (I mean, Erika is supposed to be attractive, Lisbeth is supposed to be a sociopath). Rooney Mara shows she has the potential to be one of Hollywood's great names. The photography is wonderful, with every single frame capturing the scenery beautifully. I would recommend this film to a friend, but I would specially recommend it to someone who has no plans to read the trilogy. Expand
  55. Aug 18, 2012
    7
    I've seen both the original & this remake and I have to say that although Fincher's version obviously looks better, has better production design and values and cool soundscapes by NIN they both have a very similar feel and it's probably a matter of personal taste which one you prefer. But if you have seen one you don't real need to see the other.
  56. Jul 3, 2012
    10
    Rooney Mara nails Lisbeth Sandler's character, even better than Noomi Rapace. Daniel Craig also does a good job playing what he does best, an FBI agent. It's long because it is one of the few movies faithful to a book and can actually bring the emotion of it. From 2012's adapted screenplays, you won't be able to find one as faithful as this one and The Hunger Games, thanks to great actingRooney Mara nails Lisbeth Sandler's character, even better than Noomi Rapace. Daniel Craig also does a good job playing what he does best, an FBI agent. It's long because it is one of the few movies faithful to a book and can actually bring the emotion of it. From 2012's adapted screenplays, you won't be able to find one as faithful as this one and The Hunger Games, thanks to great acting and character relevance, as well as nice elaborate action sequences. Expand
  57. Jul 21, 2012
    9
    I thought this was excellent. Being a big fan of the book and Swedish film, I was prepared to be disappointed, especially after Noomi Rapace was soo good in the original. Rooney Mara's take on Salander is different but just as good, and I was really impressed by the film. Less depth but more polished.
  58. Aug 10, 2012
    8
    Compelling and, at times, brutally graphic mystery that entertains and signals the arrival of Rooney Mara as a star, but runs about a half hour too long, dragging at the finish.
  59. Oct 3, 2012
    9
    This movie was shocking in many ways - an excellent adaptation of the book, which was a shock - on par or better than its foreign counterpart - and a very engrossing cinematic experience, not to mention an incredible journey into the depravity of the darkest of mankind. I found this movie hard to watch at times but was compelled to not shy away as it hit me in the face with the reality ofThis movie was shocking in many ways - an excellent adaptation of the book, which was a shock - on par or better than its foreign counterpart - and a very engrossing cinematic experience, not to mention an incredible journey into the depravity of the darkest of mankind. I found this movie hard to watch at times but was compelled to not shy away as it hit me in the face with the reality of the book and the deep understanding I felt toward the characters. The acting is superb and the soundtrack is some of Trent Reznor's best and most mature work to date. Expand
  60. Jan 1, 2014
    4
    It has moments of grimness and Rooney Mara scenes that desperate teenagers will love but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has unbearable pacing and a scattered plot that doesn't really make sense.
  61. Oct 3, 2014
    8
    USA update of the original. I went in expecting this to be inferior to the well made Swedish version and that was the consensus that I heard about the film. It does do somethings better than the original though, i found this one to be more tense (helped by a good score) in terms of narrative structure even though I knew the outcomes. The small intimate action scenes are also better inUSA update of the original. I went in expecting this to be inferior to the well made Swedish version and that was the consensus that I heard about the film. It does do somethings better than the original though, i found this one to be more tense (helped by a good score) in terms of narrative structure even though I knew the outcomes. The small intimate action scenes are also better in this version. The minor issue with this one is that the woman who played the original Lisbeth is so good in that role that it is a difficult act to follow. The actress playing her is fine, but the Swedish one is just more intense and more believable at times (dare I say i found here a little more attractive as this one is extremely thin.) Expand
  62. Nov 9, 2012
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I was really disappointed with the movie, Lizbeth is the story her skills & life is the essence of the story & they butchered her part. There was nothing to show her computer hacking / programming super abilities which are essential in her role & her life.
    They used the general plot of the story & neglect the essence of it.
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  63. Sep 2, 2013
    8
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is full of twisted characters that need to be locked away from the rest of us!It`s a mystery movie that mostly takes place on an Island that feels like a cold prison for the privileged.The Main character is odd but interesting. I didn`t know much about this movie but was surprised to like it so much since it`s really not the kind of movie I normally watch.
  64. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    Featuring an uncommonly sensational performance from Rooney Mara, David Fincher's take on "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" proves to be a cerebral, vicious and worthy addition to his repertoire overall.
  65. Jan 6, 2013
    6
    Well, it's complicated thriller far enough! The naked cruelty limits the sensitive audience while the tightly prescribed story keeps you deep breathing.
  66. Feb 24, 2013
    8
    After a sloppy hour, where you feel like you just made a mistake by starting this movie, the plot starts to catch up and the characters start to unfold. I haven't read the book, but the plot totally hooked me, and I loved every bit of it when the movie started to progress. Rooney Mara did a superb job on portraying Lisbeth.
  67. Mar 6, 2013
    10
    First of all, I'm a huge fan of the original Swedish film and Noomi Rapace's fantastic performance, but this one, OMG. Simply said, David Fincher's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' is a phenomenal masterpiece. I've watched this film five times and I still can't get enough of it. I can write hundreds of essays about this film, it's a perfect film for film students to deconstruct and studyFirst of all, I'm a huge fan of the original Swedish film and Noomi Rapace's fantastic performance, but this one, OMG. Simply said, David Fincher's 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' is a phenomenal masterpiece. I've watched this film five times and I still can't get enough of it. I can write hundreds of essays about this film, it's a perfect film for film students to deconstruct and study about, but moreover, it's incredible entertainment. It's impossible to talk about the film without raving about Rooney Mara's hypnotic performance, which I believe is better than Noomi Rapace's performance. This girl does it all in this film, she is completely unafraid of the camera, it's as if David Fincher yelled ''action'' from another closed room and let her do her job on her own or with a cast mate in another. I seriously can't wait for the sequel... Expand
  68. Mar 8, 2014
    9
    Here comes an interesting and engaging thriller that presents itself with all kinds of twists and turns. While it may be to grotesque at times it still engages you as an audience member guessing what's going to happen next. The movie has a great cast led by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara delivering a true oscar nominated performance. It also looks outstanding with its bleek setting andHere comes an interesting and engaging thriller that presents itself with all kinds of twists and turns. While it may be to grotesque at times it still engages you as an audience member guessing what's going to happen next. The movie has a great cast led by Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara delivering a true oscar nominated performance. It also looks outstanding with its bleek setting and tremendous cinematography by Jeff Cronenweth. Overall, it's an outstanding fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns. I give it an A! Expand
  69. May 17, 2013
    7
    I liked it, but I wasn't blown away by the movie. Even at two and a half hours, the story still feels cramped. This should come as no surprise, as the original book is about 600 pages of solid writing. Some elements had to be changed/cut out for the sake of pacing and cohesiveness, but overall the movie mirrors the book almost completely. Daniel Craig gives a good performance, but I feltI liked it, but I wasn't blown away by the movie. Even at two and a half hours, the story still feels cramped. This should come as no surprise, as the original book is about 600 pages of solid writing. Some elements had to be changed/cut out for the sake of pacing and cohesiveness, but overall the movie mirrors the book almost completely. Daniel Craig gives a good performance, but I felt like he was somewhat limited by the script. Rooney Mara fares better, bringing Lisbeth Salander to life, but I can't say that her performance was Oscar worthy.

    While the movie is a good one, it is far from amazing. I still think the book is a much better telling of the story, and the limitations imposed by the movie medium do show. Then again, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a far better adaptation than most book-to-movie flicks.
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  70. Jun 25, 2013
    9
    This film is a masterpiece. I've seen the Swedish one I think) and I have to say that the american is much better. The actors are fascinating. Daniel Craig, which is not one of my favorite actors impressed me and Rooney Mara was beyond excellence. The plot though it is based on a book is smart and it has suspense through the whole movie. I can't wait to see the next one. Plus, DavidThis film is a masterpiece. I've seen the Swedish one I think) and I have to say that the american is much better. The actors are fascinating. Daniel Craig, which is not one of my favorite actors impressed me and Rooney Mara was beyond excellence. The plot though it is based on a book is smart and it has suspense through the whole movie. I can't wait to see the next one. Plus, David Fincher did a great job in this one. A must-watch Expand
  71. Jan 11, 2014
    9
    Thanks to David Fincher, the world now has Rooney Mara to admire (and stare at). She plays the Goth misfit Lisbeth in this film, her first lead role, and she’s actually pretty good. She does revenge particularly well. A fierce character, while not dominating every scene, Rooney dominates the film. She is the one we think a hour later.
    I will not try and compare her performance with Noomi
    Thanks to David Fincher, the world now has Rooney Mara to admire (and stare at). She plays the Goth misfit Lisbeth in this film, her first lead role, and she’s actually pretty good. She does revenge particularly well. A fierce character, while not dominating every scene, Rooney dominates the film. She is the one we think a hour later.
    I will not try and compare her performance with Noomi Repace's, whom I also love to watch. Both do Lisbeth their
    own way.

    When Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) gets into some political hot water and needs to get out of Stockholm, he takes a job as an investigator in the Swedish countryside trying to solve the mystery of a disappeared girl, but there are people that do not want him to to find the answers. Eventually he teams up with Lisbeth and they work on the case together.

    In the first part of the film, the intersecting story lines between the two main characters are done with skill. Many scenes are not action or dialogue based, yet all they all add to the story. The decision to film this version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in Sweden, as opposed to swapping it out for some American city, was a well made one.

    Since so much of the story is told in images, kudos goes to the editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall. Both are long time collaborators of Fincher, and they’ve both won multiple Oscars, including one for this film. I get the suspicion that they worked extra overtime on this movie; there are just tons and tons of scenes, a complete 180 from the style of Panic Room.

    The chemistry between Rooney and Craig really builds throughout the film as the two work great together. The irregularity of the pairing makes it much more interesting and intriguing to follow than most typical, on-screen romances.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is not the most depressing of all Fincher productions, but it’s still pretty low down there, and I mean this in the best way possible. It’s either always raining or cold outside while sometimes this envorinment is contrasted against interior scenes that are pristine, white, clean. Tension. Clean rooms don't seem to apear often in Fincher films, and as expected there are many others that are dark and dirty.

    The film ends in a reasonably satisfying way leaving us hanging, waiting for the sequel.

    Errata: I could have gone without the final Stockholm scene when Lisbeth is riding her motorbike through the streets as it snows. A similar situation occurred in The Wolverine (2013) where Logan rode a motorbike through the mountains in Japanese winter. These situations would never occur. Motorbikes and snow are never a very convincing combination (for me anyway).
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  72. Mar 31, 2014
    8
    Best editing in a film adaptation you will see this side of the decade. The film runs at an arduous pace, yet that is welcomed by the audience due to its gripping story. Rooney Mara is strong, rugged, yet very human as Salander.
  73. Apr 24, 2015
    9
    The dark seeps out of the screen like living thing, evidence that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is more than a paycheck to director David Fincher, who has improbably affixed his own imprint on a movie that comes weighted down with possibilities and expectations no filmmaker should have to contend with. Aided by a tightly-wrapped screenplay adapted from Stieg Larsson's global best-sellerThe dark seeps out of the screen like living thing, evidence that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is more than a paycheck to director David Fincher, who has improbably affixed his own imprint on a movie that comes weighted down with possibilities and expectations no filmmaker should have to contend with. Aided by a tightly-wrapped screenplay adapted from Stieg Larsson's global best-seller by Steven Zaillian, Fincher strips the material to its skeleton, then adds back the sinew and tissue to create something that is unmistakably The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but in no way a carbon copy of the earlier Swedish movie or the book itself. This is what a movie adaptation should be: a film whose base narrative has its roots in the source material but whose soul can be identified through the images that unfold on screen.

    When, in early 2010, Columbia Pictures announced their intention to film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the question that crossed many lips was, "Why?" After all, there was already a very good adaptation available, a 2009 Swedish production directed by Niels Arden Oplev with a star-making turn from Noomi Rapace. The intention to "remake" The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in English with an A-list star smacked of a cash-grab. Whatever the motivations, however, this interpretation of Larsson's story can stand proudly alongside the Swedish version. Both tell the same basic story, but there are enough differences - some subtle, some significant - that each can be enjoyed on its own terms. And, although Oplev will always have the distinction of being first, the strengths of Fincher's film reminds us that first is not always best.

    Two key elements differentiate Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from Oplev's (and please don't misread this in any way as a denunciation of the Swedish interpretation, which was one of my top films of 2010). The first is the aesthetic. Filmed with a bigger budget and an auteur behind the camera, the 2011 movie is steeped in bleak, cold darkness. Everything, from the wintery setting to the gloomy interiors to the way scenes are photographed, enhances this aspect. Oplev's approach was more straightforward and not as assured. The second is the way the characters are represented. Fincher softens the edges and presents us with more emotionally complex individuals. Oplev emphasizes individual characteristics. Some of the characters in the 2009 movie are little more than caricatures (the vile and sadistic Bjurman being an example), but Fincher quests for ambiguity.

    Zaillian's screenplay does a better job than the one penned by Nikolaj Arcel & Rasmus Heisterberg in distilling Larssson's convoluted story into something movie audiences can absorb without a primer. In fairness to the writers of the Swedish version, their 180-minute original lost 28 minutes in the transition from TV mini-series to motion picture, and that's part of the reason for its occasionally erratic tone and discontinuities. Still, Zaillian has surgically altered Larsson's book for the screen by cutting, adding, and changing where necessary. The final result is a coherent, well-developed murder mystery that is neither rushed nor sluggish. It also keeps us waiting for a while for the two main characters to meet - that doesn't happen until the one-hour mark. Until that point, their stories are kept separate to better clarify their places in the overall narrative and to provide a stronger sense of who they are as individuals (rather than as a pair). Once they meet, they get to share the screen often enough to generate a peculiar frisson.

    Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo also manages to make Mikael into more than a nondescript detective and straight man for Lisbeth's weird brilliance. (In this milieu, she's Holmes to his Watson.) Craig, aided by the screenplay, fleshes out Mikael. He is never as captivating as Lisbeth, but neither does he vanish into her shadow. The quasi-romantic relationship that develops between the two is more intriguing than the more traditional one in the Swedish movie. Here, their emotional investment is unequal, with Mikael viewing it as casual while Lisbeth, for perhaps the first time in her life, has discovered feelings between the sheets (or, more appropriately, on top of them).

    Personally, I would love to see what this creative team could do with those books (which are inferior to the first one). Regardless of what happens in the future, however, 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.
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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: 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.