The Swedish phenomenon called the Millennium Trilogy started with an unsettling psychodrama, then followed with a turbo-charged action-adventure. Now it’s closing with a courtroom drama. After the shock and awe of the first two movies, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest comes across a tad underwhelming.
For those who don’t remember every slam bang detail of the prequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, the film’s titular hero did not walk off from her explosive confrontation with her family with every single strand of her hair unruffled like Tom Cruise. With two bullets-one in her brain-in her body, and enough other burns, broken bones and overall bruising to kill a less extraordinary people, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) was last seen being driven away in an ambulance. Joining her was her psychopathic father (Georgi Staykov), who Lisbeth managed to chop off one his arms. Now he’s in the hospital room two doors down from her.
To top it, the Swedish covert operation that’s the cause of all Lisbeth’s misery has slapped her with three murder charges. If they have their way, she will never get to trial.
The film then divides neatly into two halves The first is Lisbeth’s recovery in the hospital, replete with attempts at her life. This half does a good job of setting the table, making viewers ready for the hopeful feast to come.
From there the story moves point by point like something out of a good, but not exceptional episode, of Law & Order: Prime. Co-star Mikael Blomquist (Mikael Nyquist) leads his Millenium team to save Salander…with a big helping hand from her main hacking buddy, Plague (Tomas Kohler) and Blomquist’s lawyer sister.
The problem with this final film is twofold.
The first is after the high torque action of Fire, Hornet’s Nest feels like it’s moving underwater. The film lacks tension or any truly serious threat. One can easily see it fall apart when the true main baddies target all our heroes, and repeatedly fail. It makes one wonder how they came to power to begin with. By the half-way point of this two hour cloak and dagger fest, one can easily see what’s going to happen.
The second is almost a good thing. To director Daniel Alfredson and scriptwriters Jonas Frykberg and Ulf Ryson’s credit, they do make a noble attempt to cross every “t” and dot every “i” first presented in the original Girl With A Dragon Tattoo. One just wishes they didn’t take such a long time to do it. Instead the film almost plods, and after the concussion causing pace of the first two movies, this is seriously disappointing.
On the plus side, one does have to admire how Alfredson’s camera work and keeping every plot point clear yet detailed. The performances from the ensemble cast insure you pay attention, even when things start getting a tad ridiculous. It’s easy to see why Rapace has become a truly hot commodity. Her next starring role will be against Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in the next Sherlock Holmes film. Her tough, punkish attitude mixed with her otherworldly good looks has potential superstar written all over her.
Probably the sharpest thing to do is wait for the last of the Millenium movies to be released on DVD, then run them like a marathon. That could settle the matter of the odd pacing that hampered Hornet’s Nest. One is also left with the impression that these three films would make an exceptional synergistic whole.
Otherwise, just about everyone now knows that director David Fincher casted Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara for the American versions of Blomquist and Lisbeth. There also was a six-part TV series produced in Sweden, where Nyquist and Rapace reprised their roles of the anti-authoritarian journalist and the very troubled computer hacker.
So it’s easy to surmise that the tale of the girl with the dragon tattoo is far from over. Personally, that feels like a very good thing.