The film’s tagline reads "What is hidden in snow, comes forth in the thaw." Which is what this rendition of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo brings to the big screen. This English-language thriller film directed by David Fincher, adapted by Steven Zaillian, based on the Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson. The film follows a disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist and his pierced, tattooed, punk computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander as they investigate the disappearance of a wealthy patriarch's niece from 40 years ago. As they work together in the investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover immense corruption beyond anything they have ever imagined.
The success of Stieg Larsson's novel created Hollywood interest in adapting the book, as became apparent in 2009, when Lynton and Pascal pursued the idea of developing an "American" version unrelated to the film adaptation released that year. By December, two major developments occurred for the project: Steven Zaillian, who had recently completed the script for Moneyball (2011), became the screenwriter, while producer Scott Rudin finalized a partnership allocating full copyrights to Sony. Zaillian, who was unfamiliar with the novel, got a copy from Rudin. After reading the book, the screenwriter did no research on the subject. Fincher, who was requested with partner Cean Chaffin by Sony executives to read the novel, was astounded by the series' size and success. Because Zaillian was already cultivating the screenplay, the director avoided interfering. After a conversation, Fincher was comfortable "they were headed in the same direction." Zaillian discussed many of the themes in Larsson's Millennium series with Fincher, taking the pair deeper into the novel's darker subjects, such as the psychological dissimilarities between rapists and murderers. Fincher was familiar with the concept, from projects such as Seven (1995) and Zodiac (2007). Zaillian commented, "A rapist, or at least our rapist, is about exercising his power over somebody. A serial killer is about destruction; they get off on destroying something. It's not about having power over something, it's about eliminating it. What thrills them is slightly different." The duo wanted to expose the novels' pivotal themes, particularly misogyny. Instead of the typical three-act structure, they reluctantly chose a five act structure, which Fincher pointed out is "very similar to a lot of TV cop dramas." The writing process consumed approximately six months, including three months creating notes and analyzing the novel. Zaillian noted that as time progressed, the writing accelerated. "As soon as you start making decisions," he explained, "you start cutting off all of the other possibilities of things that could happen. So with every decision that you make you are removing a whole bunch of other possibilities of where that story can go or what that character can do." Given the book's sizable length, Zaillian deleted elements to match Fincher's desired running time. Even so, Zaillan took significant departures from the book.
Simon says The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo receives: