The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
They’re going to win Best Group Costume for sure.


Theatrical Release Date: 10/29/2010
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Anders Ahlbom, Micke Spreitz, Georgi Staykov, Lennart Hjulström



Trailer:

That’s not a tattoo, that’s a space station!

InThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo“, we were introduced to Lisbeth Salander (an abused woman who found that her hacking skills and streetwise demeanor could be used to her benefit) and Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist tasked with solving the disappearance of a girl decades later and needing help from Lisbeth to do so).

The Girl Who Played with Fire” delved further in Lisbeth’s past. We discovered her father was a former spy, brought to Sweden secretly during the Cold War; who has begun to frame his daughter for a string of murders as a means of revenge for her attempting to use his body as the starter for a bonfire. On the run, she enlists Blomkvist’s help and like “The Empire Strikes Back”, she finds some measure of closure in confronting her father directly after so many years. (It’s also what I consider to be the weakest link in the chain since it’s merely a setup for the finale.)

With the release of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, the trilogy of Steig Larsson’s cinematic adaptations has come to a close. As this particular storyline is wrapped up, the scope of her father’s government involvement is widened and while Lisbeth spends most of the film in the hospital or a court room, it’s Blomkvist’s duty to unravel the conspiracy in order to save her from incarceration and to bring the guilty parties to justice.

Once again, Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist (playing Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist respectively) deliver solid performances. They know these characters inside and out, allowing the audience to never be distracted by artifice or insincerity. The supporting cast are also up to the task and it’s easy to see why this material and the subsequent films have been so popular.

Director Daniel Alfredson, who helmed the lackluster second installment, recovers nicely here. Essentially, the second and third films are one big story cut in two (think “Matrix Reloaded” and “Matrix Revolutions”) and most of the weight that had been lacking in the last go around has manifested itself in this closing chapter. While the manner in which a major villain floats through the picture still fails to create any real suspense or drama, the rest of the story arcs work well (though his inability to feel pain still marks him as a cheap Bond villain).

Obviously, if you’ve seen the first two it’s a no brainer that you’ll want to see the last film; and for those who were disappointed in a seeming step down in quality between the first and second in the franchise, rest assured the series bounces back here. While the action is relatively light, by now it’s the investment in the central characters which make the two-plus hour journey worth your time and money.

And although Larsson’s intention to write ten books was stopped by his passing and a manuscript for the fifth in the series has been found (it’s said he found it more interesting to write that chapter than the fourth book), movie audiences will gain that satisfying sense of completion here and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” gets a 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 out of 5

 

In an attempt to be thorough, I suppose it’s time to address the upcoming American remakes of this franchise. With David Fincher at the helm, and Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig jumping into the lead roles (not to mention a bevy of big names for supporting roles), there’s reason to expect quality flims. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re necessary and only time will till if they fall into the “Let Me In” trap; where it’s only worth seeing because being “forced to read” in a movie theater is apparently analogous to inhumane torture for some audiences. Unless they find a way to make the series different and distinct, I’m afraid that’s going to be the case. *Fingers crossed.*