Film Review: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ starring Rooney Mara & Daniel Craig

For starters, I must admit that I’m a huge fan of director David Fincher. If you read our website often, that should come as no surprise to you. LucianaVee and I are really dedicated fans of Fincher and his work. We’ve been looking forward to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo all year, and I was seriously dying of excitement last night when I went to finally see the film (I may have teared up a little.) I think it’s also important to mention that I have seen the Swedish version of Dragon Tattoo and immensely enjoyed it. It’s one of the most entertaining foreign films I’ve seen in a long time. It is important to note that the American version is not a remake of the Swedish version. It is its own adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling novel. And after seeing Fincher’s version last night, there is no right way to compare the two. Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is its own film, and without a doubt, one of the best movies of the year.

For those who aren’t familiar with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the story starts with Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a journalist wrongfully convicted of libel. With his career down the drain, he accepts an offer from Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), the patriarch of an old and powerful Swedish family. Henrik wants Blomkvist to investigate the 40-year-old murder of Henrik’s niece, Harriet. As Blomkvist gets closer to solving the mystery, he decides to hire a research assistant, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara).

I can’t remember ever seeing a movie this faithful to the content and essence of the novel from which it is adapted. With the exception of a small change, the movie is just like the book. If you have read the book, you know the first part is paced rather slowly. The movie is the same. In fact, the pacing of the movie matches the book. It’s that insanely alike. However, the movie finds a way to liven up the story and characters. That is in part due to the fabulous acting from the actors. Rooney Mara killed it as Lisbeth. I was afraid that she couldn’t pull it off, or be an imitation of Noomi Rapace’s Lisbeth. Mara brought her own Lisbeth to life, and wow, she was just mesmerizing. Daniel Craig was perfectly cast as Mikael Blomkvist, and he and Mara worked off each other well. The rest of the cast was excellent.

David Fincher is a master of the serial killer genre. With movies like Se7en and Zodiac, of course you expect greatness from him within this genre. With Dragon Tattoo, he does something more with it. It’s intense, even more so than the Swedish version. While Swedish version may have flown better, this version was more jarring and thrilling. Even though, I knew what was going to happen, I was still biting my nails in apprehension. The film is a little under three hours long, but I didn’t want it to end. Oddly enough, I think the film knew that because when you were expecting it to end, another scene would pop up. That may be annoying for some people. Yet the actual end is perfect and bittersweet because even if the film has tired you out, that final scene will leave you wanting more.

This movie is definitely a must-see for everyone. I will admit it’s my favorite film of the year. It’s well-directed, well-written, and well-acted. It includes one of my all-time favorite literary characters: Lisbeth Salander. It’s impossible not to fall a little in love with Lisbeth by the end. Who would have thought that the “Feel Bad Movie of Christmas” would be your best bet this holiday season?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hits theaters December 21st

Gabrielle is 27 years old and lives in Chicago. She enjoys writing about film, TV, and books, but occasionally writes about music as well. In addition to writing for, she also the editor-in-chief and a co-founder. In her spare time, she’s either watching more movies and shows or reading more books, while continuously checking Twitter, which she may or may not be addicted to… Feel free to email her your thoughts, ideas and questions.