By Rick Jackson
Moviegoers intrigued by Stieg Larsson's first two films of his millennium trilogy that began with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and continued with The Girl Who Played With Fire will want to see the smashing conclusion, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest. It neatly brings together the plot threads that may have had you asking yourself questions about the story and where it all was going to end up.
It begins where the second film ended in the same barn where there was an encounter between Lisbeth's father and half-brother. She has been taken to hospital where a bullet is removed from her brain.
Using the backdrop of a courtroom, screenwriter Jonas Fykberg brings to the entire story some historical purpose and meaning that allows you to better understand Lisbeth and why she has been so rebellious and driven to do the things you saw in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Repugnant when you saw it happened, it now is referred to in a piece of unseen footage which you only hear as part of her defense in court.
Noomi Rapace brings to the title role the combined qualities of a person who grew up to fight back for justice and, in the process, exposed a political organization that insidiously was trying to infiltrate society. Fykberg cleverly ties this subplot in with the characters you have followed so farand in this third part, there is a fine performance by Michael Nykqvist who, again, takes center stage as Mikael, the investigative reporter whose tenacity and gut instinct helps defend Lisbeth. You also learn about a rogue subversive group called the section within the Swedish national police.
Daniel Alfredson's sensitive direction lets you feel the range of emotions that control the reactions of the characters in various situations. Almost from the first frame the tension and suspense build up to the point where you become so absorbed, you forget the film is two-and-one half hours long.
As Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace holds your attention this time primarily by her silence and her life story where you learn more about her. Her vengeful nature in the first two films has been replaced by a mature woman whose intelligence is surprising. She conveys a welcome balance between sensibility and revenge and is still dressed in a punk outfit complete with black leather pants, jacket, boots, spiked hair, body piercings and eyeliner.
The rest of the supporting cast features Lena Endre as Mikael's editor, Erika and Mikael Spitz as Lisbeth's menacing half-brother Niedermann.
The books based on all three movies have become worldwide best sellers. If you haven't seen the first two or want to see them again, they are available on DVD.
In researching Larsson, I discovered that Lisbeth was based on the children's character,Pippi Longstocking. He began thinking about writing detective novels in the 1990s. In an interview with a former school colleague, Kenneth Ahlborn, Larsson discussed the possibilities of turning fictional characters into real ones when they are all grown up. He decided to create Lisbeth as a dysfunctional character with attention deficit disorder. He then proceeded to see how she would cope in normal society. From it he came up with Lisbeth and, as a result, we have all come to appreciate her.
There is a fourth untitled book which he was working on when he suddenly died in November 2004. Swedish law prohibits his female companion, Eva Gabrielsson from finishing it. She had helped him write the other three when he was still alive.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest is rated 14A, with the warnings: violence and disturbing content.
November 20, 2010
Copyright Rick Jackson 2010