The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Directed by David Fincher
Written b Steven Zallian, based on the novel by Stieg Larsson
Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joelly Richardson

Third time turns out to be the charm for me. Didn’t much like the book-the first 75 pages turned me away twice. The first film version was better for me than the book since it did away with some of that early, boring stuff and offered a sensational performance by Noomi Rapace. But all in all, the second version of the film gets my vote.

PLOT: Does anyone need to read this? Probaby not. But briefly, elderly billionaire Henrik Vanger (Plummer) has suffered for years over the death of his beloved teenage niece in the sixties. As his death nears, he decides the crime must be solved. When it becomes inconvenient for journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to stay at his desk in Stockholm, Vanger hires him to find out what happened forty years earlier.

Vanger and his Nazi-loving family live on their own island, each trying to hold on to their piece of the pie and barely civil to each other. Vanger has had Blomkvist investigated for this job by computer hacker extraordinaire, Lisbeth Sanger (Rooney Mara) who has problems of her own. She eventually joins Blomkvist to solve the crime. The film takes a lot of time bringing these two together as she wards off her guardian, evil incarnate. Those scenes are extraneous to the story but important to the trilogy and to the original title of the book MEN WHO HATE WOMEN.

Every scene in the film seemed perfectly framed for me, getting the most out of its characters. I found it satisfying not to have to read subtitles. I usually don’t mind sub-titles but find them at their worst in thrillers when you really want to be concentrating on what’s above them. I really admired Mara’s performance. She seemed to be a more fully realized character in this version-or at least some humor showed through, some softness. I thought Mara and Craig had more chemistry than in the earlier version too. The character of Blomkvist is a bit of a bore in all three versions, but at least they eliminated a very odd romance in this one. Anyway, it’s Lizbeth Salander that keeps us watching. She wears our hearts on her sleeve.

Highly recommended, if you can do it one more time.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.