First of all: no spoilers! David Fincher’s film of Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a creditable remake/reimagining, with many impressive things that dispel any notion of the usual ill-advised Hollywood remake of a non-English language film. As Salander, Rooney Mara may initially register less of an impression than the memorable Noomi Rapace — until halfway through the film, and then the actress (adopting a vaguely Swedish accent — which comes and goes – in contrast to Daniel Craig’s received pronunciation) really makes her mark. Paunchy middle-aged journo Blomkvist/Craig has James Bond’s abs, but (to his credit) never looks heroic – the spectre of 007 is kept firmly at bay.
There is, perhaps, a general softening: Lisbeth is more humanised than chez Rapace (there is a Rain Man-style breakthrough for this carefully established sociopathic personality), and the violence and sexual abuse are slightly toned down from the Swedish version (despite Fincher’s promise that he was planning to push the envelope on this film). The change of a key revelation works remarkably well, though it may upset purists, and the cool, desaturated palette of the cinematography is highly impressive, even if the Vanger mansion is often in stygian darkness. And a largely English cast of reliable presences provide impeccable support.