Mr. Movie

'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' fabulous in English

Newly crowned superstar Daniel Craig picks up the role of scandalized and ostracized investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

He’s hired by a rich industrialist to solve a 40-year old murder mystery. Blomkvist is joined by Rooney Mara’s, goth girl, Lisbeth Salander, whose investigative skills match his own.

Together and separately, they navigate their way through a brilliant whodunit packed with intense and delicious twists and turns.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

Craig, Mara and their co-stars get started with a terrific screenplay done by Moneyball and Schindler’s List’s Steve Zaillian. He makes only a change or two in the original screenplay.

It’s too bad more moviegoers don’t like to “read” a movie. The Swedish — and original — version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a better film. It did the art house circuit but got very little exposure outside of major markets. In Tri-Cities, Carmike played it a couple of weeks and it did decent business. The two films that finished author Stieg Larsson’s popular trilogy did virtually no business at all and disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

All can now be found on DVD.

Some will say it’s not fair to compare this one to the original. Maybe it isn’t, but it’s hard not to when the Swedish version is one of my favorite whodunits. It is grittier, has more of an edge and is less polished than director David Fincher’s (The Social Network) English version. In the case of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, less is more. The grit and lack of polish works and is what makes the original a better movie.

Not that Fincher’s is a bad flick. His cinematography is superb. Some shots are picture-perfect. Others are chilling and add to the terrific tension embedded into a world-class mystery.

If you haven’t seen the Swedish version, you will enjoy Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo immensely. Fans of the original will like this version, but most will ultimately see Fincher’s film as more cookie cutter than classic.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

Rated R for mature themes, violence, nudity. It opens today at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, at the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.