OK ... I've read the book and I've seen the Noomi Rapace Swedish film version and I'd not been been convinced by either of them so sheer curiosity persuaded me to take in David Fincher's effort. And though it wasn't a bad film I was left with the distinct impression that Fincher (and I'm a great admirer of his work so I say this with some reluctance) was intimidated by expectations generated by the book and the Swedish film adaptation.
I am of the firm belief that film adaptations of books must recognise the differences between what works in print and what works on celluloid ... but when a book like TGWTDT has sold 60 million copies it takes a brave, brave director (and an even braver studio) to defy this weight of expectation ... especially when Lisbeth Salander has become such an iconic character. Doug Liman/Tony Gilroy recognised the need to mutate a book when it moved from print to screen with their adaptation of the Bourne books and I think a little of their lack of reverence would have been helpful here.
In making Lisbeth (and I though Rooney Mara's performance was excellent) a more vulnerable character Fincher opened the way for a more liberated interpretation of the book's character dynamics. And what this did was make the two rape sequences (so powerful in the Swedish version) redundant and gratuitous in the Hollywood version: BUT I guess to have deleted them would have opened both Fincher and Sony to accusations of whimping out. Yet the fact is these could have been deleted with no harm done to Mara's interpretation of Lisbeth (I would, however, have made the fight scene in the subway more visceral ... equip Lisbeth with a knuckleduster, perhaps?). The rapes got in the way ... which was unfortunate because Mara's portrayal made the burgeoning relationship between Lisbeth and Blomkvist much more believeable.
And while we're on the subject of Blomvkist, I thought Daniel Craig was terrific tho' who thought it necessary to have his daughter prompt the breakthru insight should be shot.
Yeah, it's better than the Swedish version ... the lighting's better, the acting's better ... but ... but ... but ... the script needs culling ... the tone is inconsistent ... it's too long ... the attempts to resolve the plot holes clunking ... and then there's the rape scenes. Roll on the 20 minute shorter Director's Cut.
My Score: 7/10