The Girl Who Played With Fire


Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Written by:Jonas Frykberg
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Annika Hallin, Sofia Ledarp
Released: September 23, 2010
Grade: B

Having taken in $5.5m at the Australia box-office, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has been one of this year’s big success stories.  I realise that it’s based on a best-selling novel but it’s still an impressive total considering that it’s Swedish.  It’s actually the highest grossing foreign language film in this country since Hero in 2004.

For fans of the original movie, the good news is that you’ve only had to wait 6 months for this sequel.  You can find out what’s next in store for the journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.  The bad news is that this film is somewhat of a let down (which I seem to say 95% of the time when reviewing sequels).  It’ll be interesting to see if this instalment is as successful at the box-office.

The film begins with Blomkvist on the verge of publishing a huge story in his Millenium magazine.  A budding journalist has put together a well researched article on the sex-trafficking industry.  Just prior to publication, the journalist and his girlfriend are shot dead in their apartment.  The article named some very powerful officials and Blomkvist believes that one of them may be behind the killings.

The police think otherwise.  The murder weapon was left at the scene and it contains fingerprints belonging to… Lisbeth Salander!  She becomes the prime suspect and the hunt is on to find her.  Blomkvist doesn’t believe that Salander is the killer but he can’t work out how her fingerprints ended up on the gun.  He’d love to be able to ask Salander but she disappeared over a year ago and he hasn’t heard from her since.

What’s missing from this film is the great interaction between Blomkvist and Salander.  I realise that screenwriter Jonas Frykberg has to remain faithful to Stieg Larsson’s novel but it’s disappointing that they spend so little time together in this film.  We follow both of their stories but it’s just not the same.  I was also a little disappointed with the performance from Noomi Rapace.  I’m hoping she’ll earn an Oscar nomination for her role in Dragon Tattoo but she didn’t seem to have the same spark this time around.

Whilst it’s not as memorable as the original, I’ve always got time for a well-written thriller.  There are plenty of characters involved and you’ll be cheering (on the inside) for Blomkvist as he fits the pieces of the puzzle together.  He’s such a likeable hero with his mild-mannered demeanour.

I dare say that we won’t be waiting long for the final film in this trilogy – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.  No release date has been set in Australia but the film is complete and has already been released in a few other countries.  I hope it’s a fitting finale.