The good news: it is an excellent film; the not so good news: it is redundantly predictable. For those who did not devour the trilogy written by Stieg Larsson( “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”) or see the Swedish movie versions or are returning from an alternate universe; entertainment, mystery, engrossment are yours for over two hours.
Huge kudos should be heaped upon casting; every character resonating with Larsson’s brilliant literary descriptions: Daniel Craig is perfect as “Mikael Blomkvist”, the maligned editor of “Millennium”, a periodical devoted to righting the wrongs perpetrated by the nefarious; Christopher Plummer as “Henrik Vanger” the patriarch of a rivetingly evil family, imbues the role with equal amounts of dignity and distain for his iniquitous progeny; Robin Wright is the physical clone of “Erika Berger”, the co-editor of “Millennium”; Stellan Skarsgard as the deliciously, duplicitous, debonair “Martin Vanger” commands and controls his every scene.
Rooney Mara as “Lisbeth Salander” equals her predecessor, Naomi Rapace. Lisbeth, one of the most creative heroines to spring from the mind of any author, is a victim who uses her victimization as a tool for survival; she undergoes the excruciating tattooing process as a way to synthesize her physic torture. Her analytical mind lacerates and annihilates the most complex computer encryptions; she is a genius, an idiot savant, a solitary, defective soul. Ms. Mara grasps the depth of Lisbeth’s strengths, flaws and makes her human, vulnerable, someone worthy of love and respect. This is a feat for the archives; a fearless performance that will rank in the hierarchy of classic portrayals.
With few exceptions ( Mikael does not go to jail) director David Fincher (“The Social Network”) adheres to Larsson’s scenario resulting in a beautifully filmed, scored, dynamic, emotionally-charged story that clings to the viewer long after the lights are no longer dim, and complacent reality is a delightful, mundane substitute for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.
FOUR STARS !!!!