“The Girl Who Played With Fire” & “…Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” Movie Reviews

February 25, 2011 | By More

I really intended to write these as two separate reviews. These two films came out fairly close together, and well, I just didn’t get the second one done in time. However, while  “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” stood on it’s own, the second and third parts of the Millennium Trilogy need to be seen together to be appreciated.

I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as I can. So read on without too much fear if you haven’t seen them or read the books.

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The second film in the Millennium trilogy starts close to where “Dragon Tattoo” ends. Where this one differs is the story revolves around the characters of Blomkvist and Salander.

The thread for Blomkvist pick up at his magazine, Millennium. Once again, he happens upon a story that is far bigger than your average article fare.

Salander’s story picks up where hers left off. She has done some traveling an in the process pushed everybody out her life.

I was a bit disappointed that they cut out the sequence where she was out of the country at the beginning of the second book. I understand it would have made for a long film, and for flow, I can see the sense in it.

Inevitably, Blomkvist’s story and Salander’s intertwine. Where the two had shown chemistry in the first film, in this chapter, they share little screen time together while unknowingly working towards each other.

The film has a decent amount of action and suspense. It’s also has some more psychological suspense, as you are trying to work out the details of Blomkvist’s investigation and Salander’s past.

The film builds to a crescendo with both parties finding their answers at the same time. However, these answer’s come with a price.

A bit of a warning, the film ends with a cliff hanger.  If you like your entertainment all wrapped up in a bow, be prepared to rent or buy the third one right away.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

The third, and presumably, final chapter of the trilogy is quite a different film than the middle one.

The best way to explain these two films is to compare them to an episode of Law & Order. The first half is the investigation phase and the second deals with consequence.

And in this film, Salander is facing the consequences of her actions in the previous films, and in her life in general.

This film isn’t as action driven as the previous one, and has a lot of tension driven from the uncovering of the facts of her life.

The Trilogy

When I was getting ready to write this, I was really struck by how the flow of these films reminded me of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. The first act mainly serves to mainly introduce the characters and the part they play in somebody else’s conflict. The second part grows those characters to entertainment maturity. The third act is the resolution of the characters’ internal conflicts.

These films need to be looked at as one larger piece of entertainment. They are a trilogy and only viewing one part of is like reading only one chapter in a novel. People who view only one part are bound to be disappointed. Also, there are seeds that are planted in the first film that carry through all the way to the end.

I really loved this series of films (and the books). It’s a testament to the books and film makers, that in my head the line between them is blurred. The films look like what I expected, and while they made some changes to keep the films to a watchable length, the storyline is fairly intact.

And storyline is great one that is character driven. The characters grow and learn about themselves. It’s a fantastic journey they take us on.

I can not say enough about how much Noomi Rapace has become Lisbeth Salander in my head. Her performance in these films has won her a number of awards and they are all well deserved. She perfectly portrays the character and you get the sense of the underlying layers of complexity in character.

Yes, I know there’s an American “version” of the first film coming later this year. Yes, the remake might be tuned perfectly for American audiences. However, I think the charm of this story is the location and Swedish aspect of the characters and their situations. I think it’s ridiculous how American studios are not willing to back a widespread distribution of subtitled foreign film. There is no reason to believe that a foreign studio couldn’t make a series that is gripping, entertaining, and character driven. These films prove they can.

Buy The Steig Larsson Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) on Amazon

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