I've never read any of Stieg Larrson's books. And despite the fact that I generally rant against all these pointless American remakes of foreign films that are just as good or more often better than the Hollywood dumbed-down versions, I saw this one without having seen the original film.
This decision was mostly made on the strength of the talent behind the production; I've never seen a David Fincher film I didn't like, and I really like the music of Trent Reznor and thought it would make the perfect soundtrack to such a film.
But I have to say the things I expected to like about it were pretty much the best things here. The acting by the likes of Christopher Plummer and Daniel Craig were as outstanding as expected, the music - also as good as expected, whether it be the cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song' or the ambient noise buling tension of the final scene - also awesome. And Fincher's trademark dark, noir-ish style, yup also great.
But aside from that, there were few unexepected surprises. Rooney Mara's surprisingly good performance as Lisbeth is one, for sure, but in what is supposed to be a mystery/thriller, I found a distinct lack of real mystery and thrills. The mystery half of that equation certainly existed, but a really good mystery should provide the audience all the clues necessary to solve the mystery themselves, provided they are astute enough to put the right pieces together. Instead, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just leads us by the nose as the investigators find clues and put the mystery together in a rote, step-by-step way. And as far as thrills go - well until the end there's little more than the occasional gunshot from unseen assailant type threat.
So while The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a good film, even a very good film, it falls short of being the truly great film it could have been.