For viewers unfamiliar with the Swedish original, David Fincher’s ripping remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” should be a knockout.
Fincher, a master of uneasy mood and unflinching depravity, is a perfect match for the very raw material of novelist Stieg Larsson’s 2005 bestseller. And while he doesn’t necessarily improve upon director Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 picture, he amps it up in a major way. In this he’s been well-served by his sharp eye for casting: Rooney Mara, who played the wronged girlfriend at the beginning of Fincher’s The Social Network, here gives a spectacular performance as the psycho-punk computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, and for the length of the movie, at least, she obscures the memory of Noomi Rapace, the actress who so fully inhabited that character in the earlier film.
Fincher was right to go to Sweden to shoot this picture–the film has a Nordic chill that seeps into your bones. Once again we are in Stockholm, where crusading magazine publisher Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) has just lost a libel suit to a corrupt business mogul he had targeted in an exposé. Handing over the reins of the magazine to his colleague and girlfriend, Erika Berger (Robin Wright), Blomkvist just wants to disappear for a while. And on a faraway island off the Swedish coast, an aged industrial titan named Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) has just the place for him to disappear to.
Vanger wants to bring Blomkvist in on an investigative assignment. Ostensibly he’ll be writing a history of the Vanger family, many of whose unpleasant members also reside on the island. Actually, however, this hired outsider will be looking into the disappearance of Henrik’s beloved niece, Harriet, who went missing some 40 years earlier.
You can read the rest of the review at Reason.com