Seeing as the American remake of the international blockbuster “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is in the horizon, I figured I should finish my coverage for the films based on Stieg Larsson’s Swedish thriller called the “Millennium Trilogy”. The first film was quite good and raw and while I wasn’t too impressed with the second part of the trilogy “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, I have to say that director Daniel Alfredson had finally found his flow with “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”. The last two films were rushed for an American release (I mean within an eleven month period) and David Fincher directing the remake, this trilogy had become a true phenomenon. (I worry about certain cultural differences and Swedish law will hamper the remake)
After the brutal ending in the second film, Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) barely survives the ordeal and is hospitalized. Charged with attempted murder, and her attempted victim, her father was in fact a Russian spy being hidden by the Swedish government and his exposure might reveal certain details about Lisbeth’s history which may in turn uncover a covert operation. With one chance at getting redemption and closure, Lisbeth must go to face the charges, as her friend Mikael (Micheal Nyqvist) will use his magazine’s resources and leave no stone unturned to prove her innocence and give her justice….
The first film was about the rise of Lisbeth and the establishment of her friendship with Mikael while the second film was about revelations as the viewer got inside the layers that make up the main protagonist. This third movie is more about Mikael and how he sees Lisbeth; the viewer is privy for none other than Mikael’s resolve to find the truth but rather how he holds Lisbeth in high regard. It feels more like the establishment of the hidden bond between the two and how Mikael would do anything even put other people in danger to help Lisbeth. This film trilogy is another example why I like Foreign films, performers become the characters, and not the other way around. I loved the way the performers really looked like who they were supposed to be.
Much of the film shows Mikael with his companions Annika (Mikael’s sister and lawyer played by Annika Hallin) and Erika (editor of the magazine and sometime lover of Mikael played by Lena Endre) as they dig for dirt and anything that may prove Lisbeth’s case. Alfredson once again takes on the directorial duties for this final chapter so the style is quite similar to the second movie. The script by Jonas Frykberg and Ulf Ryberg focuses on the ‘by the numbers’ as the film shifts from one scene to another, as the viewer is taken for a ride. Much of the film is about gathering evidence, analyzing them and very little violence or action. “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” feels very similar to courtroom drama slash detective thriller, as it wraps up all the details we’ve seen in the first two films. It is good up to a point, and really intriguing to watch, my issues with it is that the film wasn’t exactly that powerful as many things relied on the viewer’s knowledge of the book. Suffice it to say, if you haven’t seen any of the films in the franchise, then you would be totally lost in its narrative.
It also hurts the film since the main character doesn’t exactly do much. Lisbeth is more isolated in this third film; I understand since she is in custody, and this was the way the story was meant to be told. Noomi Rapace is INDEED Lisbeth Salander and she seemed to be more of a physical presence than someone who gets engaged in the film’s script and dialogue. Lisbeth this time around was more of a symbol of someone who spits in the face of corruption. I was very impressed how she stood for who she was than allow expectations and the usual conventions dictate who she needed to be. Rapace uses subtle expressions, gestures and emotional moments to define her character, her journey between the three movies reaching a remarkable defining moment in the last chapter. Even the last scene in the film is all Noomi Rapace as she maintained the qualities of her character true and sincere all around; no forced emotional moment, but a mere statement just how tough and restrained Lisbeth truly is.
I would once again state that seeing the first two movies is a must for you to grasp this final chapter. If you haven’t seen them, then you may be better off skipping this film, and to those who’ve actually seen the first two films, Noomi Rapace is enough reason to go the distance. Please do not take this as a negative comment, it is just that this film feels more like an anticlimax than a triumphant ending. This leaves a lot of room for Fincher to really pull it off, and for this trilogy to really reach the heights it was meant to. This Swedish film was still good albeit a little rushed to capitalize on its own popularity; “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” speaks a lot for itself, but it just didn’t carry a lot of power to match the visceral strength of the first film. Alfredson and company came up a little short to make it memorable and truly unforgettable.
I hope David Fincher can work his magic with Lisbeth Salander, if he makes it this far in the remake. Fincher is responsible for quite a good number of great films. I hope he does a re-adaptation instead, as the Coens’ did with “True Grit”, as they surpassed the original film by a re-adaptation rather than taking the path to a remake.
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST Written by Jonas Frykberg Directed by Daniel Alfredson Starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist If there is one girl out there who just keeps getting herself into more and more trouble, it is Lisbeth Salander. First she goes and gets a great big dragon tattoo on her back and then, despite many lessons to the contrary, she goes and plays with some fire. Now, I know Lisbeth … more
Of the film adaptations of Stieg Larrson's Millennium Trilogy, this finale is definitely my favorite. Finally, all the pieces of the mystery/conspiracy come together in a totally satisfying, although predictable way. This third film isn't nearly as suspenseful as the first two, but the emotional closure we get as we discover how Lisbeth Salander overcomes her past and the people who have abused her more than makes up for it. As someone who came to this series a little disappointed by how … more
I'll leave it to the social philosophers of the NY Times to tell us what this movie means (and they have,) I just thought it was a pretty good way to spend Friday night. Here's what I liked: the masterminds are all geriatrics. When was the last time you've seen an 80 year old hit man? It's more a police procedural than a an action flick, and after the bloody business of The Girl Who Played with Fire that came as a blessed relief. Justice prevails and redemption follows. I saw the movie in Seattle, … more