FILM FANS: Raves for 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

In this film image released by Sony Pictures, Rooney Mara, left, and Daniel Craig are shown in a scene from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." (AP Photo/Sony, Columbia Pictures, Merrick Morton)

In this film image released by Sony Pictures, Rooney Mara, left, and Daniel Craig are shown in a scene from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." (AP Photo/Sony, Columbia Pictures, Merrick Morton)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

3 out of 4 stars

The mysterious, dark, graphic "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was riveting and definitely earns its R-rating. Having not read the trilogy, I was without prejudice, and was frankly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie in spite of the gruesome and explicit sexual violence. Director David Fincher and screenwriter Steven Zaillian did a great job luring me deep in the story, enveloping me until I felt genuine concern for the characters.

The story is about fallen journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), who's hired to research the 40-year-old murder mystery of Henrik Vanger's (Christopher Plummer) niece. Blomkvist enlists the assistance of a brilliant computer hacker, an extremely damaged, disturbed, pierced and tattooed young woman named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). The pair is an unlikely couple, but combined they piece together clues solving the family's malicious secret and unravel several heinous crimes in the process. Vanger's family is extremely wealthy and very prominent, but even families with old money have skeletons that make my crazy family look like something out of Disney.

This is not a feel-good movie by any stretch, but the mystery was complex enough to keep me guessing until the end and, therefore, entertaining.

-- Myra Simons, Buford

3 1/2 out of 4 stars

For the few who have not read the book by Stieg Larsson, which includes me, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is a very dark, violent and thrilling murder mystery.

A high-profile journalist Mikael Blomkvist played by Daniel Craig, who is hit with a libel suit by a billionaire businessman and loses his life savings, is asked to meet with retired industrialist Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). He is hired to use his investigative skills to solve the disappearance of Vanger's great-niece Harriet, who he believes was murdered 40 years ago. Mikael dives into all the Vanger family members and their secretive pasts which includes Nazi sympathizers and alcoholics, only to discover that Harriet may have been one of many serial murders of women. Mikael seeks out the help of a young on-the-edge goth computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, played flawlessly by Rooney Mara. Lisbeth, whose expert investigative skills cross the legal line, is dealing with her own issues like being raped by her state-appointed guardian, which she handles very violently.

The story is riveting and takes you on many twists and turns as Mikael and Lisbeth use ingenious investigative techniques to solve the many mysteries of the movie. Ultimately, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is entertaining, engaging, violent and will not disappoint the loyal readers of the book, or so I'm told.

-- Ken Gamble, Lawrenceville

3 out of 4 stars

I read the book and saw the original movie. Despite knowing everything that was going to happen, I was still engaged by this well done American remake. It takes the best of the book and omits the filler. It is more than two and a half hours, but flows from one event to the next seamlessly, making the time fly.

It takes about an hour for the two main characters to meet; until then, we are introduced to their situations. Rooney Mara delivers a convincing performance as Lisbeth Salander -- she is independent and strong with a touch of vulnerability.

The ending is a bit rushed but, overall, this is simply a good story, one that does not rely on special effects, fast action scenes, exotic locales, etc. A good supporting cast rounds it out.

Sexual content, including rape, make this not suitable for children.

-- Francine Benoit, Lawrenceville