User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 619 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 35 out of 619
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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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..
  8. 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...
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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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  21. 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.