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The biggest hit at the Charles this spring has been the Swedish thriller "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." The best thing about it is the emotional current that courses between Michael Nyqvist as a veteran muckraking journalist who temporarily turns gumshoe and Noomi Rapace as the omnisexual punk hacker who joins him on a missing-persons case. Both actors are top-drawer, and the story is solid as well as sensational, filled with unexpected combinations of Nazism (in Sweden!), corporate and family corruption, and serial killing. But it's marred by director Niels Arden Oplev's pedestrian direction. He lacks any gift for violence; he just shoves torture in your face.

I'm looking forward to seeing what a new director, Daniel Alfredson, does with the same great leads in the next film in the series, "The Girl Who Played With Fire," which comes to the U.S. in July. And I'm really looking forward to David Fincher's American remake, because the gritty sensitivity and filmmaking imagination that Fincher brought to "Zodiac" is just what this material needs. (And Fincher simply gets better and better: I'm one of the critics who think "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is a masterpiece.)

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Fincher says he may cast an unknown in the title role, but I think he should consider Scarlett Johansson. She's got all the right gifts for the character. She mastered youthful angst years ago, and when she tones up for  films like "The Island" and "Iron Man 2" (above), she registers as one lithe spirit, coiled to spring. Johansson and a costar like Peter Sarsgaard ("Shattered Glass," "An Education") could make the best of deadly companions for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Have you seen the original yet? What do you think are the artistic prospects for the remake? Who would you cast in it?

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