'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' is directed by David Fincher - the guy who directed 'Fight Club', 'Seven' and 'The Social Network'. All 3 movies that I liked and come on...isn't 'Fight Club' like a cult movie?
He doesn't disappoint with 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' either. To begin with, the casting is brilliant. BRILLIANT. I mean the sequence where they introduce the cast members, not the choice of cast (more on that later).
As soon as the casting begins, you know this is going to be one hard hitting movie....what with the amount of violence in the book...there will be no shying away from that. And there isn't. The sexual violence is all there and it's done in a way that will move you, rather than make you uncomfortable.
The movie is engaging and fast paced, and like most movies that are based on books it would help if you've read the book before. There are a couple of things you may miss if you haven't, and a few things you may not understand.
The casting I thought was a mixed bag. The male characters are spot on. I can't think of anyone else in Hollywood who would fit the character of Mikael Blomkvist better than Daniel Craig. Even the actor who plays Martin Vanger is perfect for the role - comes across a regular guy, even nice! But mentally, he's sick and deranged.
I'm not so sure of the casting of the female characters though. Let's start with Erika Berger who is played by Robin Wright ('Message In a Bottle', anyone?). I agree she is never described as being hot or pretty in the book (or is she?), but she comes across as quite sought after and is an important character in the scheme of things. Robin Wright just does not have much of an impact as Erika Berger, not much to do in the movie.
And then there's Lisbeth Salander herself. Now. In the book. She kicks ass. And even though she is a complete social misfit you find yourself rooting for her because she is just so awesome. She isn't social because she doesn't give a damn, but the movie makes her come across as shy. The actress who's played Lisbeth Salander has done a good job no doubt - given it's such a challenging role physically and emotionally - but she's not all that Lisbeth Salander is. And that's a real shame because she is the hero of the series. Maybe I'm feeling this way because I've seen the Swedish version where I found the actress to be awesome.
My main grouse with the movie is that they have changed the ending!!!!!! It may sound like a nice twist, and people who haven't read the book will not pick up on it, but I don't like it when they change things in movies from what they are in the book. I can understand it if it's done to make things more cinema-friendly, but here they have actually changed a part of the story in a way that was not required.