It's difficult to applaud a story in which the characters are treated so horribly and even the morals of the good characters are not always clearly good. But that's how the real world is, is it not? And don't we want stories about interesting people involved in situations that would cause us to run screaming in the other direction? The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo gives all that and more all wrapped up in a package that could be described as a sort of frozen, Swedish (American) film noir. Except only the title character is living a brutish, street-smart life.
The film is enjoyable for those strong characters, great acting, some imaginative storytelling, and top-notch directing and cinematography. I mark it down a little for muddling the mystery plot about the serial killer a bit, muddling the framing story about corporate corruption a lot, and going way over the top with sex scenes (how is this not NC-17?).
I'm not sure if I could choose between this version and the previous Swedish incarnation. Both have their merits and issues.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (IMDb)