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The Girl Who Played With Fire (2010 movie)

A 2010 movie directed by Daniel Alfredson.

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FireWorks 4.5 stars

  • Jul 21, 2010
Novelist Stieg Larsson (Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest most likely intended a long life for his offbeat couple, the steely intense Lisbeth Salander (played expertly by Noomi Rapace) and the intrepid journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist). Larsson's novels are littered with complicated (to the English reader) Swedish names whose corresponding characters seemingly have no real purpose within each individual plot. Perhaps only by the 5th or 12th installment, if Larsson had been able to fully realize his storylines, the roles of this vast Scandinavian population would make perfect sense beneath the larger umbrella biodome-ing the entire Larsson universe. Unfortunately, only three books exist, peppered with a raft of personnel the function of which only the late author in his omnipotent sense as creator fully understood.

Perhaps, even though he is faithfully following the blueprint of the book, that is why some criticism is directed at director Daniel Alfredson's adaptation of the second `Girl' offering in the Millennium trilogy. Complaints have been made by a number of reviewers that the two leads don't share enough simultaneous screen time. Oh well--that's not the way Larsson wrote his novel. Likewise, the film "The Girl Who Played With Fire" duplicates with just enough angry misogyny, gritty action and labyrinthine conspiracy undercurrents the ongoing story of Lisbeth Salander. Larsson wrote his stories more like serials than novels and the respective directors of the first two films are true to his concept. The films are meant to be seen in sequence, not as stand alones.

After Blomkvist and Salander are thrown together to solve a forty-year old mystery in director Niels Arden Oplev's admirably rendered The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, they part company; Salander, enamored with the promiscuous Blomkvist cannot quite get her necessarily controlled feelings back in check. She decides a disappearance act is in order and goes about her business, vacationing around the world, monitoring her newfound millions and keeping track of her guardian, the despicable Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson). When something amiss flags her attention, she returns to Stockholm a year in time after the first film and lands smack into a plot that plunges her into her troubled past and an uncertain future. With a synchronicity worthy of a Dickens serial, Blomkvist concurrently works with a young couple investigating a human trafficking ring. When they are murdered, and Salander is implemented, Mikael and Lisbeth collaborate again as unlikely yet strangely compatible partners.

As in the first film, Noomi Rapace portrays Lisbeth with the edgy deadpan certainty that gives Larsson's character the plucky punch that no one familiar with her can fail to admire. Darkly intelligent, yet emotionally vulnerable, Rapace's rage smolders with a relentless momentum. A veritable flame-throwing Terminatrix, despite her diminutive size, she takes giant steps leaving those around her burning in her wake. Good luck, American producers, finding a `Lisbeth' comparable to Noomi Rapace. She is Lisbeth.

Similarly, as her unlikely foil, Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist, renders a reality to the journalist that the actor chosen for the English-speaking Hollywood version of the film will have a hard time duplicating. Clever, self-aggrandizing and unabashed at his unconventional sexually charged relationships, Nyqvist knowingly smirks at Salander's audacity and the audience grins with approval even though as avid fans of the books, they know the couple will come physically together only at climatic times in the plotline.

If we, as admirers of Larsson's creations, are lucky, someone worthy will pick up the threads of not only Salander and Blomkvist, but Berger, Bublansky, Armansky, Miriam, Paolo and the newer characters introduced in the last of the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, and weave them together within the telling of newer stories incorporating the police procedural with a continuing furthering of the lives that populate the Larsson universe. As masterful characters, Blomkvist and Salander must go on, sleuthing towards answers to unsolved and as of now, unwritten mysteries lending their particular strengths to the overall safety of metropolitan Stockholm while figuring out the more complicated conundrum: what they mean to each other.

Bottom line? As a stand-alone film, TGWPWF, works as the second episode in a mini-series: it needs the first cinematic effort to render meaning to the goings-on that follow. Director Alfredson gives us a little background with some cellular flashback, but without an understanding of the characters' motives as developed in TGWTDT, this offering may seem like a rush of action that has little nuance. True to the plotline of the book, however, Alfredson brings the story to life. Whether or not we desire more togetherness for Salander and Blomkvist remains irrelevant. Larsson crafted his game plan and the filmmaker successfully whittles his story to fit into a compelling and enjoyable two and a half hour format. Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander with a repressed intelligent diligence. Highly recommended for Larsson fans and any one else who likes a good thriller. See TGWTDT first.
Diana Faillace Von Behren

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October 29, 2010
informative, detailed review. I have featured this in our community. Thank you so very much for this!
More The Girl Who Played with Fire ... reviews
review by . August 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ Stars: The Story and Origins of Lisbeth Salander Begins...
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was a near-excellent film mostly because of the direction by Niels Arden Oplev and the performance of Noomi Rapace. It was such a methodical, well-constructed thriller that was violent, emotionally repulsive and quite sinister which allowed its characters breathing space to generate the feeling of suspense and was a taut experience for its entire 150 minutes. Well, promising a follow up, the producers of the first film adaptation of the Swedish novels …
Quick Tip by . June 06, 2013
posted in Movie Hype
FIrst sequel to The Girl WIth The Dragon Tattoo has Mikael investigating human traffiking and sex slavery while trying to help Lisbeth clear her name for the murder of individuals involved in his investigation. A great story and an opening up of Lisbeths past make up for it's dull spots and gimmicks.
review by . June 20, 2011
Unstopable excitement in a well-told tale
I recommend this second film in the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and the other two as well. Of course the book is far better than the film. This is almost always true because the book has more details, greater characterization, psychological explorations, more depth, and additional sub-plots. Yet this film is filled with no-stop excitement, the acting is superb, and the scenery appropriate. While the film is in Swedish, I doubt that most people will find it hard to follow the subtitles. Additionally, …
Quick Tip by . February 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I seem to be in the minority when I say that I preferred this to the first film. I have a number of reasons, but mainly while "The Girl Who Played with Fire" isn't as dark or as suspenseful as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", it is a much more realistic and character-driven work over all. My one real complaint with this series is that it is far too convoluted and ultimately while it attempts to lead its viewers on a complex detective search, what it ends up doing is falling into typical crime …
Quick Tip by . September 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It's amazing how quickly this series jumped the shark. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had everything going for it - a plot with no holes, two enigmatic lead characters who had great back stores and were charismatic in their own ways, two lead actors who I couldn't take my eyes off, pacing that wouldn't let up - I gave it four stars out of cinema snobbery, but it was as entertaining as anything I've seen in a long while. Then comes The Girl who Played with Fire, and though I still love looking at …
About the reviewer
Diana Faillace Von Behren ()
Ranked #166
I like just about anything. My curiosity tends to be insatiable--I love the "finding out" and the "ah-ha" moments.      Usually I review a book or film with the … more
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The toughest chick in Sweden returns to action inThe Girl Who Played with Fire, the second film adaptation of the late author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy novels. That would be Lisbeth Salander, once again played with quiet, feral intensity by Noomi Rapace. As Larsson's readers and anyone who saw the first film (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also released in 2010) knows, Lisbeth is small in stature but big trouble for any man who crosses her--after all, this is the woman who set her father on fire after he abused her mother and later, after being released from a mental institution, took extreme revenge on her legal guardian after he brutally assaulted her (those scenes are briefly revisited for the enlightenment of those who missed the earlier film). Also back is investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), Lisbeth's erstwhile lover and partner in solving theDragon Tattoomystery. When two of his young colleagues are killed while at work on a story about sex trafficking, followed shortly by the murder of the aforementioned guardian, Salander is the prime suspect. But Mikael is sure of her innocence; in fact, he's convinced she's the next victim, leading to a tangled tale in which Lisbeth learns more about her family and its very dark secrets than she ever wanted to know. The story is compelling, if a bit slow to take shape, and director Daniel Alfredson, taking over for Niels Arden Oplev, skillfully sustains the mystery and tension ...
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Director: Daniel Alfredson
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Music Box Films Home Entertainment
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