Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Watch On
  1. 100
    A compelling thriller to begin with, but it adds the rare quality of having a heroine more fascinating than the story.
  2. It's one of the most engaging foreign films to come along since 'Tell No One' in 2008.
  3. 91
    Tattoo is as much mood piece as mystery, and the mood is almost always disturbing.
  4. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    91
    The key to the film’s effectiveness is the casting of Rapace, who, while not mapping quite exactly to the book’s physical descriptions, is riveting.
  5. 91
    Rapace is a magnetic presence in a far-ranging mystery requiring such a solid character to orbit around.
  6. A mind-bending and mesmerizing thriller that takes its time unlocking one mystery only to uncover another, all to chilling and immensely satisfying effect.
  7. Rife with nightmarishly violent and horrific behavior. It's intense, graphic, frightening.
  8. 88
    This dynamite thriller shivers with suspense. So if you ignore The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) because it's in Swedish with English subtitles, you probably deserve the remake Hollywood will surely screw up.
  9. 88
    The biggest compliment you can pay the much-anticipated film adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that you can't imagine Stieg Larsson's corker of a story ever having existed in book form.
  10. 88
    Balances character development with plot, and that's crucial to its success.
  11. 88
    A chilling detective tale, a horrific sexual abuse drama and an overlong, emotional, tie-up-every-loose-end melodrama that is sure to be half an hour shorter when Hollywood remakes it without the Swedish dialogue and probably without the cool Swedish edge.
  12. Reviewed by: John Patterson
    80
    May be a shallower experience than the book, but it has a headlong velocity all its own. Catch it before the inevitable U.S. remake.
  13. 80
    Every so often, you get the gift of watching an under-the-radar actor bloom into a critical-mass phenomenon before your bloodshot eyes: Franka Potente in "Run Lola Run," or Christoph Waltz in "Inglourious Basterds." Add Noomi Rapace to the list; what she does with the title character of this Swedish thriller-cum-pop-lit-adaptation will spawn cults of swooning Rapacephiles stat.
  14. A stylish thriller with real complexity, people with interesting faces, a sensational actress cast as an ambisexual Goth hacker heroine--the news about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is nothing but good.
  15. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    80
    I finished Larsson's novel with the uncomfortable sense it used a good mystery as an excuse to dwell on sadism and perversity -- an aspect only exacerbated on screen.
  16. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    80
    The feminist subtext should come as no surprise given Larsson's lifelong advocacy on social-justice issues, but it also is a refreshing slant on the familiar character dynamics of crime fiction.
  17. 78
    This is not your mother's murder mystery, unless your mother's maiden name is de Sade and she has an appallingly bleak vision of modern society that occasionally fixates on the historical misdeeds of the corporate/industrial world and the correction thereof.
  18. The film makes excellent use of the cold Scandinavian landscape to emphasize the story's gloomy loneliness. And Rapace and ? Nyqvist have compelling chemistry.
  19. 75
    The movies rarely gives us a woman as fascinatingly complex as Lisbeth Salander, and the happiest news about the two sequels is that she’ll be back.
  20. A potboiler but entertaining enough to rise above its flaws.
  21. It's the rare 2 1/2 -hour film that doesn't make you look at your watch once. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is such a film.
  22. 75
    The result is a finely plotted, stylishly photographed and brilliantly acted whodunit that clocks in at 2 1/2 hours but never seems long.
  23. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    75
    Lisbeth, pierced, tattooed and played by Rapace with a sometimes uncontrolled ferocity, qualifies as both a victim of male violence and a violent avenger of it. This makes her a lot more compelling than her comparatively passive partner -- something that Hollywood will doubtless find it necessary to "remedy" when Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is remade in English.
  24. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    Its stylish and gritty authenticity is superbly suited to this murder mystery.
  25. This Swedish sensation is a magic trick that jolts the murder-mystery genre back to life.
  26. A chilling film best experienced bundled up in a sweater and scarf.
  27. Here’s a paradox: The millions of people who have read Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are the panting target audience for the Swedish-language film adaptation. Yet they’re also likeliest to be disappointed by this carefully crafted drama, while people who haven’t read the book are likely to enjoy the movie and wonder what the literary fuss is about.
  28. The result is a character-driven mystery of considerable emotional power, often harrowing and always compelling.
  29. 70
    However you respond to it, the fraught sexual and investigative chemistry between Mikael and Lisbeth is the most powerful ingredient of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The movie's second half is a capably executed but mostly by-the-numbers procedural.
  30. 70
    Noomi Rapace throws herself into the title role, but something about the conception of her character, and about the far-reaching urgency of the sociopathic shocks behind the killing, smacks of a filmmaker pushing too hard. That is why the movie finds it impossible to wind things up.
  31. The film version stars a wonderful Swedish-Icelandic actress named Noomi Rapace as the hacker and Michael Nyqvist as the reporter. They are excellent and subtle and honest.
  32. Reviewed by: Tim Cogshell
    60
    A dark and brooding story that only gets more disturbing over the course its 152 minute runtime.
  33. Reviewed by: Boyd Van Hoeij
    60
    More of an action-light whodunit than a real thriller, and more of a CliffsNotes version than a deeply disturbing portrait of what's wrong with contempo Sweden.
  34. Director Niels Arden Oplev keeps the action relatively tight. But he revels in the story’s sadism to an uncomfortable degree, especially in a needlessly vile rape scene. Two more sequels are coming. Here’s hoping there’s just a little less hate in each.
  35. 50
    The cluttered narrative leaves little room for character development, though director Niels Arden Oplev does manage to accommodate plenty of gratuitous torture and rape.
  36. Though Ms. Rapace is a fine professional scowler, with cheekbones that thrust like knives and a pout that’s mostly pucker, she tends to register as an intriguing idea instead of a thoroughly realized character. She more or less looks the part that the filmmakers don’t let her fully play.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 191 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 36
  2. Negative: 4 out of 36
  1. JimE.
    Apr 25, 2010
    10
    The film is a tribute to the author, screen-writer, and the difficult task of turning a compelling work of literature into film-art. I am The film is a tribute to the author, screen-writer, and the difficult task of turning a compelling work of literature into film-art. I am please to see that the northern European artists (director, screenwriter, etc.) are nuanced and understated, as opposed to an American production which would have prescribed 1) a "hottie", 2) a "hunk", 3) the seeroe-typical narcissistic attorney, and 4) a Daddy Warbucks business executive. Bottom line; I enjoyed it. Full Review »
  2. Nov 29, 2011
    10
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the finest examples of a thrilling murder-mystery ever committed to film. The storytelling is fluidThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the finest examples of a thrilling murder-mystery ever committed to film. The storytelling is fluid and engaging, the script tight and the dramatic performances superb. The film explores the darkest, most depraved aspects of human nature, and astutely questions our commonly held beliefs about mental illness, morality and redemption. It's a real testament to the skills of leads Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace that they manage to bring such complex, layered characters to life on the big screen, and they make a great double-act, smartly playing off each others' performances to add greater depth and believability to their roles. It's also a mark of a great director in Niels Arden Oplev that he keeps the story focussed, and manages to maintain the momentum of the film throughout its 150 minute run-time. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is simply superb - it's smart, energetic, well-crafted and utterly enthralling. The American remake is on the horizon, and while I'm intrigued by any project with David Fincher at the helm, I'm also a little dubious, because there's no way a remake can be this good. Full Review »
  3. JohnR.
    Apr 17, 2010
    10
    This is a powerful, intelligent and convincing film, well worth the difficult moments. Please be forewarned: there is a very difficult scene This is a powerful, intelligent and convincing film, well worth the difficult moments. Please be forewarned: there is a very difficult scene early on. As it was happening I considered leaving the theatre, it was so strongly done. Staying was totally worth it, and the scene is not gratuitous: it is key to the Dragon girl's character, but it is a tough one to watch. Full Review »