Based on a worldwide best-selling novel, the Swedish-language "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" churns out a layered and moody murder-mystery that makes a lengthy run-time feel anything but. If you're on the fence about two-and-a-half hours of subtitles, hop on over.

Based on a worldwide best-selling novel, the Swedish-language "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" churns out a layered and moody murder-mystery that makes a lengthy run-time feel anything but. If you're on the fence about two-and-a-half hours of subtitles, hop on over.

Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is an investigative journalist recently framed and convicted of libel; he's set to serve a prison sentence in six months. A surviving member of a powerful Swedish clan enlists Mikael to probe the disappearance of a teen girl four decades ago from the family's island compound.

Elsewhere, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a tough and tattooed computer hacker with a dark past, is hired by a security firm to investigate the investigator and check up on Mikael. Her illicit access to his hard drive draws her into the mystery he's unraveling.

Director Niels Arden Oplev holds a steady hand on the throttle for this long journey. Revelations come steadily as the mystery deepens. Sharp punctuation comes in moments of violence that aren't suitable for all audiences.

The find here is Rapace in the lead role. Ask most actresses for "tough but damaged" and you'll get a brooding caricature, but she's far more than just her piercings and tats.

There is already an American remake in the works, reportedly in the quite capable hands of David Fincher ("Se7en"). He's a great fit for the material, but he better find a great fit for his lead actress.