Cert 15 R 115mins Stars 4

The girl with the dragon tattoo returns with a new identity in this terrific stand alone thriller, based on the fourth book by late author, Stieg Larsson.

Following in the footsteps of Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara, Brit star of TV’s The Crown, Claire Foy, puts her own ferocious stamp on the character of private investigator, Lisbeth Salander, who has audacious computer skills, driving ability and impressive physical prowess.

Except for the unmistakable quality of her performance Foy is almost unrecognisable in black hair and bovver boots as Salander, and brings vulnerability, intensity and determination to role.

Living in a spartan warehouse apartment with only a pet lizard and occasional lovers for company, she accepts an almost impossible seeming job.

Former Ricky Gervais sidekick, Stephen Merchant, plays a scientist who pays her to hack into the US defence system to obtain top secret software.

But in an explosive scene it’s stolen from Salander and while she chases the men who took it, she’s pursued by Swedish and US secret service agents.

And so Salander has to to confront the demons of her dark past in order to be able to save the world from possible nuclear armageddon.

Along with Foy, Sylvia Hoeks and Vicky Krieps form a formidable trio of powerful women with the men being underlings or henchmen. In previous films journalist Mikael Blomkvist was a major role, here Sverrir Gudnason is reduced to pretty boy sidekick.

Glossy, glamorous, dark and dangerous, this draws on the films of 007, Jason Bourne and Alfred Hitchcock with two great vehicle chases, a couple of shoot outs, and a smartly staged game of cat and mouse.

Abuse, incest  and paedophilia lurk in the background but instead of on-screen sex we have a flash of torture porn, a touch of S&M kink and lots of cattle prod action.

This is as different a role from her majesty as it’s possible to be, and underlines whatever the role, Claire Foy rules.

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