The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Film, Action and adventure
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Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
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Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
2/2
The original title of the Stieg Larsson novel which became, in translation, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ was ‘Men Who Hate Women’: a blunt but fitting description of this angry, intelligent but curiously uninvolving Swedish shaggy dog story. The film sees down-at-heel, crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) hired by industrialist Henrik Vanger to look into the disappearance of his beloved niece more than 30 years before. Blomkvist’s quest is intercut with the story of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a bisexual ex-con cyberpunk computer hacker (only in Sweden!) at the mercy of a corrupt, sexually deviant parole officer.

Throughout this beautifully photographed, skilfully constructed film there’s a sense we’re skimming lightly over Larsson’s characters and themes. Blomkvist is the putative hero, but his investigative journey is a little too familiar, his character too clean-cut to be compelling. It’s Salander who holds the attention: superbly played by Rapace, she’s a grim, spectral presence in the opening scenes, before she’s pushed too far and explodes in a moment of shocking, vengeful violence.

Such scenes place ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ above the extended TV mystery it easily could have become, but explicit violence only takes you so far. At heart this is a traditional thriller, down to a series of convenient and underwhelming last-act revelations. For fans of Larsson’s books this could be the highlight of the cinemagoing year – for the rest of us it’s a solid, enjoyable but emotionally unengaging detective story.

By: Tom Huddleston

Posted:

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday March 12 2010
Duration: 153 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Niels Arden Oplev, David Fincher
Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Sven-Bertil Taube
Peter Haber
Michael Nyqvist
Noomi Rapace
Daniel Craig
Julian Sands
Steven Berkoff
Robin Wright
Goran Visnjic
Joely Richardson
Rooney Mara
Stellan Skarsgard

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:20
  • 4 star:15
  • 3 star:13
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:7
LiveReviews|58
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Tastemaker

This is a solid adaptation of an excellent book. Daniel Craig says that he worked hard not to be seen as James Bond in this thriller, but it came across as a more thoughtful film in the 007 genre. Imagine "What James Bond did on his holidays". I loved Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. Quite different in places from the character written in the book but she managed to keep the same attitude and demeanour. I also thought Stellan Skarsgard was very good as Martin.

The violence was quite full on, but then it would not have been true to the book, if it had shied away from that.

It is always a tough to follow a good book and a good original language film, but this does the job well.


Congratulation Time Out London for, once again, playing your role in the side-lining and humiliation of women in film. Even the great evenging angel Lisbeth Salander is neutered and made pathetic in the shape of the dead eyed, willowy Rooney Mara who couldn't threaten a pug if her life depended on it.The 'love story' that Fincher has attempted to eke out of the Salander/Blomkvist relationship is offensive and in the poorest taste given the facts of the novel. This film is a cynical, depressing farce that I urge you not to see.


Quite why Fincher became involved in this film is unclear - unless it was for the money. I'll wager Niels Oplev's version cost a good deal less than the Hollywood version, yet captures the book fantastically. Fincher's version is a hollow version I thought boring, and showed he had little knowledge of the geography of the region. Oplev's version captures the spirit of the book perfectly, and Noomi Rapace an excellent Lisbeth - I seriously wonder how many dragon tattoos she inspired. Even Rapace's dragon tattoo's better than the one Fincher/Hollywood could come up with for Rooney Mara. Avoid.


Despite moments of visual brilliance and some good performances, Finchers version of Larson's thriller is ultimately a pointless exercise. With too many loose plot strands and lingering sadistic scenes of sexual violence and torture in near monochromatic wintery scandinavian surroundings, and an anti-climactic ending, how does this merit cinematic entertainment?


Amazingly enjoyable film. If you like Zodiac, you'll love this and if you don't like Zodiac, don't come to mine for tea. The Craig-Mara relationship is fascinating, playing against gender stereotypes in an exciting and often amusing way. Having just recently read the book (N.B I haven't seen the original movie), I found it to be an almost faultless adaptation, encapsulating the essence of many great characters so slickly.


By far and away this is the superior version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Not only is the storyline better, but the script is tighter, the acting excellent, and the photography far, far superior. I saw this film shortly after it was released in 2010, and saw Fincher’s stab at it last week. This (Oplev) version wins hands down, and was worth the purchase on DVD. Four stars.


I thought this was as good as the previous film version. I suppose any adaptation of a book can get made if there looks to be money made from it, even if it's very soon after another one. I thought I was going to be itching to leave half-way through after reading the running time, but I actually found it interesting enough all the way through. I have to say, my non-offended response might be to do with the fact that I thought the previous film was a pretty good thriller, but that's all. This one was a pretty good thriller too.


‘…Dragon Tattoo’ hit the cinemas on Boxing Day, only two years after the original Swedish version arrived, a massive hit in its own right. Both films are based on the bestselling book, written by Stieg Larsson as part of his ‘Millennium’ trilogy. You’d have to question why Hollywood would remake a movie so soon after the original, but that tells you a lot about the state of Hollywood right now. Pros and cons aside, though, this is a fun movie. That needs to be established. I was engaged, I didn’t get bored, I was even leaning forward at points because I was so immersed in it. When you have a team of people that includes David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer, that’s the least you should expect, and it succeeds on that level. The story quickly - disgraced journalist Mikael Blomqvist (Craig) is asked by the retired and stupidly wealthy Henrik Vanger (Plummer) to find out which member of the Vanger family killed his granddaughter fifty years ago. Blomqvist agrees, and quickly starts his investigation. He ends up finding out about Lisbeth Salander (Mara), a girl with incredible hacking skills and a very distinctive tattoo. She helps him with the investigation, and the rest of the film is them trying to solve the case. But, obviously, no good film is ever as simple as that. There are lots of smaller sub-plots and character histories, adding more layers to the story, and pushing it beyond the typical whodunnit. While it’s good those layers are there – and I’m sure the books delve much deeper – the restricted running time means that those subplots aren’t fully explored. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but we have to believe characters are able to achieve things without consequence, so the movie doesn’t slow down. The exact same problems are there in the original Swedish version; I really wish Fincher had tried to remove those problems, but he didn’t. Another issue with the Swedish version was the controversy over the graphic sexual violence in the movie. There’s graphic sexual violence in this version too, and it’s not for the squeamish. But, frankly, it’s justified. Those scenes do as much a good job of building character and tone as any in the movie. But enough of where Fincher falters, let’s talk about where he excels. A quick IMBd search showed me that I’ve seen almost every Fincher film, and they’re all fucking great. The guy knows how to make a film. What he does best of all is bring out outstanding performances from actors who don’t really seem suited to their role. Brad Pitt in Fight Club; Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network; and now, Rooney Mara. Mara is stunningly good as Lisbeth, just fantastic. Vulnerable, unhinged, sexy, detached, steely, feminine – she goes through a whole gambit of emotions without really ever saying much. It’s all in the eyes. Her partner in crime is Daniel Craig; granted, this is a role we’ve seen Craig do many times, but that’s not a shot. He does it well. But what really griped me was the fact that everybody spoke in Swedish accents, except Craig. Why? It made no sense. You forget about it eventually, but it’s still puzzling. I’m not gonna go on and on about every single cast member, because it’d be a waste of your time. But if you know the people on this list: Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright…then you know you’re in for some great performances. The other bits of the film – the music, the cinematography, the editing – are typically brilliant. The music’s all techno-y, the cinematography is all Swedish-y, and the editing is all frenetic-y. And you’ve got a cover of Led Zep right at the beginning, which is always welcome, despite the fact that the opening montage is more Bond-like than anything else. It seems out of place from the rest of the film, but good visually nonetheless. There are things to fault, it’s not perfect film. But it’s still a brilliant one. For Mara’s performance alone, it’s worth watching. Inevitably, people will compare her to the original Girl, Noomi Rapace, but Mara makes the character her own. Everyone else is just as great, and you’re left with a movie that leaves you wanting more. And, conveniently, we won’t be far away from more. Watch it.


Thoroughly engrossed for 2.5 hours. Really good film. I had to watch this before seeing the american remake and I hope they can do it as well as the swedish. Well worth watching!


Thoroughly engrossed for 2.5 hours. Really good film. I had to watch this before seeing the american remake and I hope they can do it as well as the swedish. Well worth watching!


Just saw this movie, and like Ben I felt the rape scene was way too much. We could have used our imagination as to what happened if the door had just closed. I had not read the book and im glad i didnt. It was such an average 'thriller', lost all interest towards the end.


this is the deadliest bore of this season in the name of a mystery thriller and archgate u r spot on -i didnt hate i almost drifted away because fincher made his dullest dribble yet here in name of a dragon too- some dragon lady or gal whichever u wanna dote on


Having seen the original series and read the books I was looking forward to another interpretation. So I was surprised this was basically a copy of the original just inserting English speaking actors and accentuating the Lisbeth sex scenes & motor-bike. Seemed as pointless a remake as Let The Right One In just to save us from reading sub-titles. Rapace must be irritated by this plagiarism of her interpretation, but that's Hollywood


A superior movie from Fincher, far outshining the previous Swedish version. Daniel Craig fills out the Blomkvist role, showing what a fine actor he is, and Rooney Mara is a revelation as Salander. In fact, considering the brilliance of Noomi Rapace, it is a formidable achievement for an actress to take the part and make it her own. In a way she makes the film work by a credible and exciting character presence. The directing is first rate and the cinamatograraphy flawless, using the locations with great effectiveness. The rest of the cast work perfectly too, with a delicious villain. One of the top 5 movies this year.


Why the f**k am I the only one here who seems to think the rape scene was WAY WAYYY too much? I left the theatre and got my money back after that! Am I the only sane person here?


Why is Julian Assange disgraced exactly ? and why does he have to be likable i.e. easy fro the press to deal with. Like the Lisbeth character in this book / film he is a complex genius and those qualities do not have to come with social skills


Why is Julian Assange disgraced exactly ? and why does he have to be likable i.e. easy fro the press to deal with. Like the Lisbeth character in this book / film he is a complex genius and those qualities do not have to come with social skills


I have seen all 3 of the original films so it didn't come as too much of a shock to me. What was perhaps most interesting to me was the things that this film accentuated in the sexual scenes yet glossed over others compared to the original. This perhaps says more about Hollywood's tastes and taboos than anything else. It is much heavier on the male misogyny than the lesbianism. It is graphic and no holds are barred in certain scenes. It is more glossy than the original and it is clear that a big budget offers options not available to the original director and the family all look too young and too glamorous for the roles. All this aside it is a good film. Maybe not great but well worth a viewing.


Very good, refreshing xmas release, though hardly any in mid boxing day show. Be interesting if users state if they have seen original. I have and this, while obviously lacking suspense now, I found far from a disgrace. Nice to see Robin Wright too. 7+/10


Having read the book, seen the film, but not bought the t-shirt first time round, I was surprised to read it was to be remade so soon after the original. This (Fincher) version adds nothing at all to the story or characters and, if anything, is of poorer quality – not particularly good casting, sloppy script, okay photography, and so on. It also seemed quite leaden towards the end, and I started to look at my watch. This won’t win Fincher an Oscar, and given the few people in the audience tonight, I can’t see it making a great deal of money. Two stars, or 4/10.


People keep defending this film as "great escapism" but to work as escapism (for me), it has to be believable. And I found none of the characters or situations in this at all believable. Pure comic-book characterisation topped up with graphic sex and violence. The TO reviewer says it is an "intelligent" film. Where? How? Film and TV makers sprinkle child sex abuse and corrupt big business into their scripts like so much seasoning these days but I think it's just laziness. This film is a mediocre Hollywood wanna-be.


Loved it as much as the book. I'm stunned that Hollywood's going to make a version - why? Do Americans have that much of a problem with subtitles? They'll have a real problem matching the quality of Noomi Rapace's acting, and ditto the rest of the cast. Well-paced thriller. Well worth a ticket - and a second viewing.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is on the verge of being a very, very good, thrilling film. However, the ending skims very quickly over earlier twists in the plotline and you are left without adequate answers to some of the most engaging parts of the story, which leaves you feeling nothing short of disappointed.


definitely subtitled ( i mean can listen to it dubbed if you hate life, but don't have to, subtitles available).


definitely subtitled ( i mean can listen to it dubbed if you hate life, but don't have to, subtitles available).


It's one of the best movies I have ever seen in years. I've seen them all. Brutal but the acting and story are superb!!! A must see!


It's one of the best movies I have ever seen in years. I've seen them all. Brutal but the acting and story are superb!!! A must see!


I really enjoyed this film, dont let the fact that it has subtitles put you off. I generally prefer to read the book before seeing the film as they are usually better. I will be reading all the books as i found this film brilliant & gripping. The girl who played Lisbeth was a very good actress


In cutting the book down to a filmable size this film has jettisoned most of the character complexity that made the book a worthwhile read. I also thought altering the tone of the villain's end a serious dramatic mistake given the films central premise (the danger of psychopathic misogynist men in society in general). The film also sufferers from too much design; the actors barely get a chance to do more than say a couple of words or grimace before the scene changes. On the plus side at least they have had a reasonable go at rendering Lisbeth Salander.


I liked the movie quite a bit, particularly the part with the angry Swedish woman running after the SUV and bashing it with a golf club. (sounds familiar, I don't know why...) I thought the rape scenes were terrible though. With so much, so-called complexity, the rape scenes were very fake hollywood. Do you think real acquaintance rape is that violent? No. It was portrayed that way so the viewer would have no doubts about the innocence of the heroine, lisbeth. Kinda disappointing. Otherwise fun movie. Who knew I could understand so much Swedish.


Sorry but football analogy time! First half was great. Second half began to creak and last half hour oh dear! All ends tied in. All answers and questioned explained. Shame wanted to like it but somewhere it turned into a Hollywood buddy film with all the cliches.


Would love to review this film but have limited time to travel beyond Rugby or Coventry and it is not showing anywhere near here.......... Rate books five stars instead!


Would love to review this film but have limited time to travel beyond Rugby or Coventry and it is not showing anywhere near here.......... Rate books five stars instead!


YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT ANNIKA AND AFTER REVIEWING MY FORMER RATING I GIVE A 4 NOW.


She NOT an ex-con, that is the reviewer's mistake. But she is complex, multi-layered, rebellious, and completely different from the typical Swedish girl. I went to college in Sweden and I never met anyone like Lisbeth. The movies were completed, and out, in Sweden over a year ago. We are just waiting for the subtitled versions here. I don't see why it's taking so long. I saw the second one (in Swedish without subtitles) and it's good as well, but not as great as this first one. I think because these stories are so deep and layered they would have been best as a mini-series. So much has to be cut out to make it movie length. But this first one was the the first time I've been truly satisfied with a movie experience after reading the book. The casting was perfect, and that's hard with this story. The acting was great. The scenery was just like the book. Even the changes they made to the story didn't bother me much, except for one essential scene that they took out in the end. It's not a pretty story, but it's so well done, I give it 5 stars. Yea Sweden for pulling this off! I dread to think what the American version will be like.


She NOT an ex-con, that is the reviewer's mistake. But she is complex, multi-layered, rebellious, and completely different from the typical Swedish girl. I went to college in Sweden and I never met anyone like Lisbeth. The movies were completed, and out, in Sweden over a year ago. We are just waiting for the subtitled versions here. I don't see why it's taking so long. I saw the second one (in Swedish without subtitles) and it's good as well, but not as great as this first one. I think because these stories are so deep and layered they would have been best as a mini-series. So much has to be cut out to make it movie length. But this first one was the the first time I've been truly satisfied with a movie experience after reading the book. The casting was perfect, and that's hard with this story. The acting was great. The scenery was just like the book. Even the changes they made to the story didn't bother me much, except for one essential scene that they took out in the end. It's not a pretty story, but it's so well done, I give it 5 stars. Yea Sweden for pulling this off! I dread to think what the American version will be like.


excellent moody thriller much less detailed and sex filled than book but well done. fantasy hacker skills are great fun and are vital to story. her background was left a little too vague possibly to satisfy audience need. wonderful new actress found. hope to see more of her.


I am interested that TO comments imply that only Lisbeth's act of violence is shocking. What about the violence done to her and to other women in the film? Or is violence against women just routine?


I am interested that TO comments imply that only Lisbeth's act of violence is shocking. What about the violence done to her and to other women in the film? Or is violence against women just routine?


Tin UK this film is in it's subtitled version.he comment you type in this box will appear on the site


Tin UK this film is in it's subtitled version.he comment you type in this box will appear on the site


glued to my seat apart from twice jumping with terror in what was the best thriller from any country for ages.Can't wait for the next one and Lisbeth is the best heroine since Clarence Starling. comment you type in this box will appear on the site


glued to my seat apart from twice jumping with terror in what was the best thriller from any country for ages.Can't wait for the next one and Lisbeth is the best heroine since Clarence Starling. comment you type in this box will appear on the site


YOU ENJOY MOVIES AS AN ART FORM OR YOU ENJOY THEM AS PURE AND GOOD ESCAPISM. WELL, WELL, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO IS GREAT ESCAPISM. THE SCRIPT IS GOOD, THE TECHNICAL AND ACTING ASPECTS ARE GOOD AND FOR TWO HOURS AND A HALF KEEPS YOU ABSOLUTELY ALERT. HOW CAN YOU ASK FOR MORE?


A gripping, tense, rollercoaster ride of a thriller. Not pretentious or preachy, it doesn't take itself too seriously - just 2+ hours of pure escapism and entertainment. What going to the cinema should be all about.


A gripping, tense, rollercoaster ride of a thriller. Not pretentious or preachy, it doesn't take itself too seriously - just 2+ hours of pure escapism and entertainment. What going to the cinema should be all about.


TO is right that Lisbeth Salander holds the attention which she should as the central character of the three books. Apparently the second and third films are near completion so let's hope the trilogy completes next year in the UK. I found the film gripping and entertaining for the long screening time, and agree with its director that this is the scariest thing to come out of Sweden since Abba.


A quite bizarre mystery thriller, part pedestrian whodunnit, part vicious serial killer nasty. It seems like I`m in the minority but the quirky Salander character never engages and the Blomkvist character is beyond bland.


Larsson's baggy, rambling story and lifeless prose have been trimmed of all fat for this unexpectedly taut and gripping thriller. Beautifully shot and superbly acted (especially by Rapace), it more than honours its source material. They say that bad books make great films and it's rarely been truer than here. I agree with the above poster. This is an overly harsh review. As one who was engaged but underwhelmed by the book, I was surprised by how masterfully it had been adapted for the big screen. If the two sequels are anywhere near as good, we have much to look forward to.

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