'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo': The Reviews Are In!

Critics are praising David Fincher's direction and Rooney Mara's performance.

The year's most anticipated movie about ritualized serial killing, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," finally hits theaters Tuesday (December 20), and critics have applauded both director David Fincher for bringing his signature style and Rooney Mara's performance.

This is the second time we're seeing a big-screen adaptation of the über-popular Stieg Larsson novel, and opinions vary on whether the latest version brings much that's new to the battle.

Check out what the critics are saying about "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

The Story

"Craftily condensed into 158 minutes, the adaptation by Steven Zaillian maximizes the relationship, first as wary colleagues, then, briefly, as lovers, between Blomkvist and Salander. They go about nailing a killer of women, and solving the riddle of a teenaged girl's disappearance decades earlier. All roads, icy and grim, lead to a rich extended family led by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer), whose relatives, living on the same remote island, have a tremendous amount to hide including Nazism, neo-Nazism and hideous personal peccadillos. By the end, 'Silence of the Lambs' style, we're trapped in the lair of the worst of the worst." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

The Direction

"Sometimes, but not often enough, American directors get European remakes right. Such is the case with 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' in which filmmaker David Fincher revisits twisted serial-killer turf in a hypnotic land of ice and snow. Fincher's electrifying storytelling makes the most of unsettling visuals, large casts, complex plots and sharp dialogue. His fascination with dark material and masterful technical skills [serves] him well in the remake of 2009's Swedish-language 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,' based on the popular pulp thriller. Even though the story is familiar — the book sold 65 million copies — Fincher's take on the creepy yarn has his unmistakable stamp, starting with the opening credits." — Claudia Puig, USA Today

Comparisons to the Swedish Film

"The resulting film is neither better nor worse than the Swedish film, but it's more cinematic. The Swedish version was originally made for television and seen in installments. Fincher's movie is 158 minutes and meant to be seen in one shot — and that's precisely how those 158 minutes go by, in a shot. There is not a wasted scene or a single minute where the movie drags. 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' harmonizes the languor of television with the urgency of cinema, an achievement in itself." — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Rooney Mara

"As Lisbeth Salander, the sullen 24-year-old waif hacker who's the story's spectacularly outlandish heroine, Rooney Mara is a revelation. She sports the spiky black plumage of a punkette peacock, with oversize earrings tightened onto her lobes like gears, pale-gray skin set off by barely perceptible eyebrows, choppy bangs, and piercings she wears like scars. ... Mara acts with a quiet power — a rage chilled into silence — that is almost ghostly." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

The Final Word

"In the end, there's not much extra even David Fincher can bring to 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.' This fastidious, technically stellar Hollywood telling of one of the great literary sensations of recent times is highlighted by a bewitching performance from Rooney Mara as the punked-out computer research whiz Lisbeth Salander and remains an absorbing story, as it was on the page and in the 2009 Swedish screen version." — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

Check out everything we've got on "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

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