The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009) — Of the three film adaptations of Stieg Larson’s trilogy, I find this one to be the most uneven.  What works in this one more than anything is still the casting.  Noomi Rapace embodies her character so perfectly that it’s hard to imagine anyone else even trying (though we’ll get to see next year…).  The movie also does a good job of eliminating subplots that while great in the book would have seemed majorly unnecessary in the film.  It should go without saying that this is one of those sequels for which the viewing of both predecessors is entirely essential.  The film starts with a direct continuation of where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off.  The massive conspiracy against Lisbeth Salander doesn’t always make for compelling viewing, however.  She spends pretty much the entire movie in either the hospital or jail so she’s mostly out of the action.  Most of investigating is left to the other main character Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist, also very well cast).  Many of the villains don’t seem as intimidating as the ones of previous installments.  It very rarely seems that there’s ever a chance the good guys could fail and guaranteed victory isn’t always fun to watch.  For a guy who constantly complains about every foreign film being remade in America I have to say I’m rather looking forward to David Fincher’s run at it next year.  It’s not that I have any issues with subtitles or anything it’s just that Fincher is a brilliant film-maker and I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that Daniel Alfredson is (though his brother Tomas made the masterpiece Let the Right One In).  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was directed with great style by Niel Arden Oplev and when Alfredson took over the series the quality seemed to drop somewhat.  Part of that I’m sure has to do with Dragon Tattoo being the best of the books, but directorial style definitely factors into it.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is a flawed film but a must-see for fans of the books and previous films.

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