Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michale Nyqvist, Annika Hallin, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, Micke Spreitz.
The final instalment in the series of films based on Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium series brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion and ties up many loose ends. This is in many ways the weakest of the three films as it is much more political in nature than the first two and is heavy on plot exposition. If you haven’t read the books or seen the first two films, then a lot of what happens here will be hard to follow. There is a lack of action for much of the film, and it loses that sexual tension that existed between the two central characters and which gave the first film much of its edge.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest takes up almost immediately where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off. Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is lying in a hospital bed, having been shot three times by her evil father Zalachenko, the former spy and defector, and left for dead. After recovering from her injuries, she is put on trial for murder. However, Salander turns the proceedings into an expose of the Section, a sinister and powerful group of rogue killers within the security forces who have tried to protect Zalachenko at the cost of Salander’s freedom and reputation. The courtroom sequences crackle with suspense as Salander and her lawyer Annika Giannini (played by tv actress Annika Hallin) expose the machinations of the corrupt psychiatrist Dr. Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl) who confined her to a mental hospital. These are easily the film’s best moments.
Meanwhile, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is writing a detailed expose of the Section and their elaborate conspiracy to discredit Salander, which places him and his colleagues in jeopardy. And always lurking in the background is the formidable psychopathic Ronald Neidermann (Micke Spreitz), the unstoppable killing machine.
This third film in the series has a far more cinematic feel to it than the previous film, and Peter Mokrosinski’s cinematography is crisp and evocative. Daniel Alfredson’s direction here is more robust and he suffuses the material with a slow burning tension. Alfredson also directed the second film in the series, and is familiar with the characters and the gritty tone and look of the material. Writers Jonas Frykberg and Ulf Ryberg remain reasonably faithful to the complex and richly plotted source material, but at times it seems overly convoluted.
But the focal point of the series has always been the character of the enigmatic bi-sexual cyber hacker Lisbeth Salander, who is one of the more original and fascinating heroines since Clarice Starling in The Silence Of The Lambs. Over the three films Rapace has made the character her own, imbuing her with various degrees of anger, resentment, hostility, a fierce intelligence, distrust and resilience. Rapace is again superb, although for much of the first half of the film she is given little to do and her character remains steadfastly silent. Nyqvist develops a solid and credible presence as the dogged and determined Blomkvist.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is a satisfying conclusion to the series, and fans can now only wait until later in the year to see how Hollywood treats the Millennium trilogy.