The Girl Who Played With Fire Directed by: Daniel Alfredson Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Micke Spreitz Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins Rating: R Release Date: July 9, 2010 (limited)
PLOT: This is based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, and the second book in the Millenium series. It's been about a year and the computer-hacker, Lisbeth (Rapace) is now accused of a crime and journalist Mikael (Nyqvist) attempts to help her. Plus, things are revealed about Lisbeth's past.
WHO'S IT FOR? Make sure you read the first book or see the first movie, to fully understand this one. It deals with her involvement with Nils Bjurman and to fully feel the impact, the first movie needs to be seen.
EXPECTATIONS: I'm a big fan of the Sweeden version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sure, I'm interested to see the eventual American adaptations, but I love that I will see all three of these Sweedish films in a span of about six months. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest comes out in October I think.
Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salandar: She's a woman who hates men. But she has really good reasons to hate the opposite sex. While the first film was all about Mikael, and his connection with Lisbeth, this one puts Lisbeth front and center. We get to see her on vacation, we get awful flashes of her past, we get to see her armed and dangerous. It's like the un-Hollywoodized version of an Angelina Jolie character. Lisbeth is raw and Rapace captures that really well. Part of the issue I have is that there's less mystery with this character now. Things are more spelled out. Yes, I realize it's a double-edged sword. I was the secretive AND I want to know more. I'll stop complaining and enjoy this tough, venerable woman. Score: 7
Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist: Mikael takes a back seat. I was actually worried we wouldn't get him in this film (I haven't read the books). He's on a mission to help Lisbeth even though he has every reason to believe she doesn't care for any involvement from him. It doesn't feel as exciting to hang out with this journalist, or watch him investigate. Again, this is Lisbeth's turn. Unfortunately, it seems that means Mikael isn't as fun. Score: 6
Micke Spreitz as Ronald Niedermann: He's a tank. He's a real-life villain ready to attack. Every action sequence and hand to hand fight feels real and this big lug is great. It's like they've taken a Jame Bond villain or a descendant of Andre the Giant, and put him in a thriller that feels like it could actually happen. He gets kicked by Miriam Wu (Yasmine Garbi) and punched by real-life boxer Paolo Roberto and we just want more. Score: 9
TALKING: Yes, you're reading subtitles. The most annoying part of that is when the white subtitles are over a very light background and you can't see every word. Shouldn't there be an easy fix for this? There are some classic thriller moments, like trying to get out of a house when you know someone is coming. Score: 6
SIGHTS: It's simple. There isn't anything overly expensive about the locations or set designs. There are still some uncomfortable moments with Bjurman's attack on Lisbeth. Thank goodness no matter what beating Lisbeth takes, she keeps ticking (and kicking ass). Put her on a motorcycle, even better. A burn victim's makeup doesn't look top-notch, but luckily, you get used to it. Score: 6
SOUNDS: Anything that Ronald does, seems to be accompanied with a big thud, as it should be. The musical score is there, it works, nothing else needs to be said about it. Score: 6
BEST SCENE: It's small, but there was something incredibly satisfying about Miriam kicking Ronald around for a few minutes, instead of getting immediately scooped up by the giant.
ENDING: There's some Star Wars parallels here, but it works. I never was that excited about who the mysterious Zala was, and that clearly hurts the payoff at the end.
QUESTIONS: Who is going to play these characters when this movie is adapted? I see Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. But I would be happier with an unknown playing Lisbeth, and getting a real tattoo on her back (yes, of a dragon).
REWATCHABILITY: I will easily revisit this eventually trilogy. I'm more excited to go back and watch Dragon Tattoo over this one though.
It's impossible to not compare this film with the first. I really liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I gave it an 8/10. It was a tight mystery that built in suspense as the movie went along. This time around, it's all about Zala. Who's Zala, where's Zala, what's the deal with this Zala guy? It doesn't have the same sturdy structure of the first. It doesn't have the same thrilling impact as the first. We do get more Lisbeth in the process. At some point, I wish she would have shouted out to Mikael, "Maybe we should have partnered up on this one." I missed their great dynamic together. I wanted more. With that said, this still has the makings of a really solid trilogy. That's without even talking about the American version that will capture more headlines.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10