The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo's ferocious grip

David Fincher delivers problematic but compelling thriller

Preceded by Stieg Larsson’s novels and the Swedish film series, Hollywood’s first Girl film mostly meets its great expectations. The dark material suits director David Fincher, who has a unique ability to draw audiences in without much action or emotional insight. Here, his trademark visual gloom washes over Daniel Craig as a disgraced journalist trying to solve a rich family’s murder mystery and Rooney Mara as an antisocial hacker who partners up with him. Mara’s Lisbeth Salander is electric, a feral, ferocious coil of aggression and sexuality who plays well against the craggy Craig. Fincher doesn’t help us understand what makes them tick, though, and the movie’s clipped climax and unnecessarily long coda reveal a struggle to cram Larsson’s book into 160 celluloid minutes. Like its protagonists, the film’s got problems, but it’s never less than gripping.

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