Based on the bestselling novel by Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo follows the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and researcher Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in their attempt to solve the mystery behind a forty year murder.
Having not been aware of the plot of either Larsson's novel or the original film starring Noomi Rapace, I had the luxury to follow this English speaking version of the story with a fresh eye and I was not disappointed.
Given the film's 158 minute running time, I thought that I was going to be in for a "bum numb-er" when in fact I got a combination of fantastic scripting, an acting masterclass and an edge of your seat thriller.
The two leads of Daniel Craig as Blomkvist and Rooney Mara was pitch perfect casting with the pair being both dogged investigators and, in some respects, damaged goods - Blomkvist by dint of his reputation being damaged by virtue of a libel action which lays the groundwork of the film and Salander due to the sexual abuse, which I have to warn is graphically portrayed, that she suffers during the course of the film's first hour or so. This combination makes for strong characters which is allied by fantastic performances.
They are supported by equally pitch perfect casting from the likes of Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven Berkoff, Geraldine James... in fact the whole cast, which if I listed them all would probably be longer than the film's running time, was fantastic.
The taut direction by David Fincher works perfectly alongside the script by Steve Zaillian to provide a real edge of your seat thriller which doesn't stint on being an intelligent film.
For people who haven't read the books, like I haven't, you may be unprepared at the scenes of sexual assault which are unflinchingly graphic - even though the viewer is warned on the advertising.
That said, for me, this film ranks alongside Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as the two big thrillers for 2011 and I will be reading the Millennium trilogy books on the back of this film.