The Girl Who Played with Fire
Starring Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
Rated R for brutal violence including a rape, some strong sexual content, nudity and language
Appropriate for ages 17+
Swedish with English Subtitles
Shortly after the events of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, computer hacker Lisbeth (Rapace) and journalist Mikael (Nyqvist) investigate a sex-trafficking ring when Lisbeth becomes the suspect of three murders, forcing her to go on the run until she can clear her name. As she gets closer to the case, she discovers the case is more closely related to her than she could have ever thought possible.
While the first film (or book for that matter) in the series was a great way to set up this trilogy, the two different story lines weren’t as beautifully intertwined as is the case with this story. In fact, what appears to be two different story lines become one in a way that only a truly gifted writer can craft. To say this film is engrossing is a massive understatement. While over two hours in length, the pacing is remarkable and the storytelling so intense that time flies. This film is far more exciting than any of the big-dollar action films that have come out this summer so far and my nails were all the worse because of it. The fact that it is intelligent too makes it that much more thrilling.
Rapace turns in another amazing performance in the titular role which will make it that much harder for an American actress to fill her stilettos when David Fincher recreates the Hollywood version of the trilogy. Nyqvist takes a backseat in this one in a very understated performance where he is very much the supporting character rather than the strong male lead.
Just like the first film, which you may recall was originally translated “Men Who Hate Women” by the Author Stieg Larsson before wisely renaming, this film also deals with the theme of brutality towards women, with the heroine being a strong, courageous, smart female lead. While the first film was upsetting in its sexual violence, this one is shocking in its frank sexuality. It’s not that you haven’t seen a movie like this before, but perhaps you haven’t outside of flipping through the channels on Cinemax. This is what most surprises me about how popular the novels have become worldwide. I can understand Harry Potter and possibly even Twilight given its audience, but the worldwide phenomenon that these books have become, especially considering their subject matter, is very peculiar. I guess adults need their own hero also, even if she is quite a bit flawed. A