I haven't read the Stieg Larsson books (they are now on my to read list) so I had no idea what to expect from this. From the very beginning I was hooked. Mara plays the lead Lisbeth so convincingly that you forget that she is an actor and are genuinely absorbed into her portrayal of the troubled, definitely not quite the full shilling, but also utterly and completely the herione of the piece. Craig, by comparison, is actually a bit of wimp in this - far removed from his Bond persona.
The opening dialogue from Mara gives you a hint of the fearsome intellect hiding beneath her harsh and distant demeanor, but is nothing compared to the way her character weaves through the plot, compelling you to will her on. The point in the film when she is betrayed by someone who should be there to help her, but who abuses her makes for difficult watching. However the pay back is one of the best I have ever seen in a movie. Not ridiculously gruesome as can often be the case, just clever and to be honest, you do find yourself thinking well deserved.
At no point does the plot waver - it doesnt miss a beat, keeps you gripped to the very end. Even the final scene leaves you wanting more and not wanting this brilliant film to end. So it is just as well that there are follow ups to keep you going!!
I definetely recommend this one if you are a fan of pyschological thrillers, or even if you arent, as the acting is absolutely top notch. Some well established names add class and credibility - Christoper Plummer (yes, him off the Sound of Music), Joely Richardson (Nip, Tuck), Geraldine James (yes, Bitty!!) amongst others.
I give this 9 1/2 out of ten. Why the 1/2 point off full marks? Because I didn't want it to end like it did, albeit though the ending does leave you wanting to know where it goes next an wanting more!!!