The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest: final part of the Millennium trilogy, following on from the Dragon Tattoo and Played with Fire. Continuing the downward trend, this looks and feels as bland as most TV movies – 0% cinematic and very little excitement or tension. The plot slowly meanders down two paths: a rehabilitation / courtroom saga for Lisbeth and yet another investigation for Mikael. It’s far, far too long (147 mins) given how little the plot progresses and how pedestrian the story is. While the acting’s still great and there’s a tiny bit of steam left, the focus here is entirely on wrapping up the 2nd film; which was already well below the brilliant stand-alone whodunnit, Dragon Tattoo. Most telling, even when walking out of the cinema I could only recall a handful of good scenes. Fire and Hornet could probably be edited together, cutting out all of the bloated story & characterisation and focusing on the excitement and drama that’s been so diluted in these behemoth instalments. The Fincher re-makes will have trouble competing with the first film, but the other two are his for the taking. A dreadful final chapter, and for closing up a tale that’s over 7 hours long the ending was such an anti-climactic disappointment.
The Girl Who Played with Fire: Lisbeth heads back to Sweden after becoming the number one suspect in a treble murder – she tries to get to the bottom of the set-up while Mikael is out to prove her innocence. The writing is a lot sloppier than Dragon Tattoo with a few cheap characters written in for no reason other than making the story a bit more interesting – particularly the real-life boxer guy and two biker goons. In saying this, the story is still decent, even if it is all geared at backgrounding Lisbeth. Once again the two leads carry the story with enviable ease, Rapace in particular gets a lot of time to shine; the smaller presence of Nyqvist lets the film down a little. It also feels a lot more fictitious, with Mikael main guy out-foxing the police at every turn and Salander’s espionage / fighting super-skills. With a different director behind the camera the tone of the second film is worlds apart from the Dragon Tattoo; couple this with the weaker story and it’s nowhere near as gripping or memorable, as it unfolds somewhat predictably. As a stand alone film this would have been a good effort but after Dragon Tattoo this just seems so much more tamer and safer. Despite this review sounding hella negative Played with Fire is a good film, and does a solid job of keeping the trilogy going, while setting up the third installment.