The tagline for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” calls it the “feel-bad movie of Christmas.” And even the positive reviews — and most of them have been positive — note that director David Fincher‘s movie is a pretty chilly affair.
That probably fits the source material: Stieg Larsson‘s best-selling novel is set largely on a cold, remote island in northern Sweden, and the people who populate that island range mostly from distasteful to monstrous. Uplift was never really in the cards.
“Rooney Mara is a revelation as Lisbeth Salander, the damaged, aggressive computer geek and feminist revenge angel, playing the character as far more feral and vulnerable than Noomi Rapace‘s borderline-stereotype sexpot Goth girl [in the 2009 Swedish film based on the book].” [Salon]
“[T]his film’s cold, almost robotic conception of Salander as a twitchy, anorexic waif feels more like a stunt than a complete character, and so the best part of the reason we care enough to endure all that mayhem has gone away.” [LA Times]
“Fincher has to grind along to get in all that plot … but his brusque, clinical touch — especially when the film shifts from Stockholm to the frigid north — keeps you off balance even when you know what’s ahead.” [New York]
“The story starts to fade as soon as the end credits run. But it is much harder to shake the lingering, troubling memory of an angry, elusive and curiously magnetic young woman.” [New York Times]
“It’s an odd feeling to be seeing a movie that resembles its Swedish counterpart in so many ways, yet is subtly different under the direction of David Fincher and with a screenplay by Steven Zaillian. I don’t know if it’s better or worse. It has a different air.” [Roger Ebert]
“Mara is mesmerizing as Salander, from her accent to her facial expressions to her few moments of comedic timing. She is fully immersed in the pierced, antisocial hacker: you won’t find any traces of the fresh-faced girl we met in ‘The Social Network.'” [BuzzSugar]
“Fincher is a master of mood and atmosphere, but this chilly, efficient movie never transcends the shallowness of its source material.” [Slate]