The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

However, those who have seen the original may wish to approach this version only to witness what Fincher brings to it, as the story remains unchanged in all but minor details. Many scenes seem shot on the very sets of Niels Arden Oplev’s 2009 film.

What Fincher grants is a sharper, crisper look; a brisker pace; a richer supporting cast; and an instant classic of an opening-credits sequence. His suspense level isn’t noticeably greater, and even pales compared to the punch of his “Zodiac” or the shock of his “Seven.”

As disgraced investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist hired to solve a 40-year-old murder, Daniel Craig (“Cowboys & Aliens”) makes a stronger impression than Michael
Nyqvist was allowed. As Lisbeth Salander, the brusque, socially awkward
hacker Blomkvist hires as a research assistant, Rooney Mara (“The
Social Network”) had huge combat boots to fill, following Noomi Rapace’s
award-nabbing turn in the foreign “Dragon” and its two immediate
sequels, but Mara commits and delivers.

If
she’s not nominated for a Best Actress Oscar as deserved, it’s because
the Academy is too stodgy to recognize such dark material. Her Lisbeth
lives on Coca-Cola, Happy Meals, ramen, nicotine and pain, and makes an
unforgettably stark impression.

The
big imperfection is the occasionally intrusive score by Trent Reznor
and Atticus Ross. Still, it’s hardly a reason not to look forward to the
Americanization of the trilogy’s remaining chapters.

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Rod Lott

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