Film: The Girl Who Played with Fire
Cast includes: Noomi Rapace (Labyrint), Michael Nyqvist (The Black Pimpernel), Lena Endre (Day and Night)
Director: Daniel Alfredson (Wolf)
Genre: Suspense/Crime Based on a novel by Stieg Larsson (2009)
In brief: “Welcome,” he said. “If you’re good to me, I’ll be good to you.” He wasn’t of course, and the memories still haunt Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth has a lot of demons she’s fighting, and they’re not all in her past. In the meantime, Mikael Blomkvist hasn’t heard from Lisbeth in a year. Maybe it’s true that Lisbeth “treats her friends like dirt.” But Mikael understands that Lisbeth is haunted by demons, and he’s committed to being a true friend. In the meantime, Dag, a freelance journalist, has brought a project proposal to Mikael and Millennium Magazine. It’s about sex trafficking. Dag and his girlfriend have been working together. She has focused on the girls, while he has focused on the johns and the system. It’s just the kind of project that Millennium is famous for, but they might be getting in over their heads with this one.
When Dag and his girlfriend are shot, execution style, Mikael is the one who discovers the bodies. When Nils Bjurman, one of Lisbeth’s demons, is also executed, the clues to all three murders point to Lisbeth. Mikael knows Lisbeth is innocent, but he has little to go on, except a name… Zala… mentioned by Dag just before he was murdered. Dag was obviously close to exposing someone important. Now Mikael is starting from scratch. Mikael wants to collaborate with Inspector Bublanski and share information, but Bublanski has no interest in working with an “amateur detective.” Mikael can’t solve this one on his own. He needs help from Lisbeth, but Lisbeth doesn’t seem to want to be found. Who can blame her?
This is the second in the Millennium Trilogy. In the first, Mikael needed Lisbeth’s computer hacking skills for a project. In this one, Lisbeth is the one who needs help… but will she be willing to accept anyone’s help. Lisbeth Salander is the character who took the publishing world by storm when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was first published. At just over 5 feet tall and 88 pounds, Lisbeth is a force of nature. She’s tough as nails and incredibly resourceful. But her enemies… and there seem to be many of them… are determined to bring her down. And they are really, really nasty people.
While it’s possible to enjoy this film without first having seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you like it, you’ll only find yourself needing to start again from the beginning. (Dragon Tattoo has just been released on DVD.) Also, the first film makes a more satisfying story than the second… not that the second isn’t a good story. But clearly, The Girl Who Played with Fire sets up the third and final film in the trilogy because of the way it ends. Don’t worry, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest has already been completed and will no doubt be released here before too long.
3 popped kernels
Popped kernels for suspense. Noomi is a wonderful Lisbeth.
Primary Audience: Young adults
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: Mainstream limited release & art house
Mood: Neither upbeat nor somber
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Computer Effects
Character Development: Engaging
Social Significance: Pure entertainment