With his career in tatters after losing a libel case, intuitive editor Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) gets the perfect opportunity to escape the resulting furore, when he receives a request from retired millionaire Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer). The aged mogul wants Blomkvist to resolve the mystery of the disappearance of his niece 40 years earlier, and moves him out of Stockholm to a cabin in the family's frozen home town. Blomkvist begins his investigations, soon acquiring the help of awkward hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), who Vanger had initially hired to do a meticulous background check on his new employee.
Working together, Blomkvist discovers more about his new partner, and their relationship soon becomes close and complicated. Then, as the duo delve deeper into the increasingly sinister case, they uncover a secret that puts them both in grave danger.
Following successful Swedish film versions, there was little call for an American take on author Stieg Larsson's storming Millennium Trilogy. Nevertheless, helmed by top Hollywood director David Fincher and with Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian penning the script, this retelling is both brutally compelling and thoroughly satisfying.
The Social Network's Mara had to fight tooth and nail to leapfrog the likes of Emma Watson, Carey Mulligan and Scarlett Johansson to the starring role, but Fincher's gamble is repaid in spades as the US actress puts in an Oscar nominated performance with her unforgettable portrayal.
Craig, perhaps surprisingly, is impressive too as the inquisitive central character.