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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornetís Nest (10/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 148 minutes.

Not for children.

I donít look forward to many movies. I go to them and either enjoy them or not, but rarely do I anticipate them with eagerness. I was looking forward to this one, and it didnít let me down.

This is the final installment of Stieg Larssonís Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played With Fire were the first two), all of which were published after his untimely death and all of which have been made into movies which have been released this year.

Brilliantly directed by Daniel Alfredson, Ulf Rybergís screenplay follows the book with some exceptions, none of which substantially affect the enjoyment of the film. What really added to this film is the score by Jacob Groth, who composed the scores for all three of the films. This one needed exceptional music, however, because it has less action and more talk than the other two due to the fact that the protagonist, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), is either in the hospital or in jail and refusing to speak for most of the film.

This film brings to an end Lisbethís tortured relationship with her evil father, but that leads to further complications, and brings to a head the long conspiracy to silence her, all of which were established in the first two films and books. Despite the lack of an abundance of physical action, the tension mounts throughout.

Rapace is certainly in line for an Oscarģ nomination for her perfomances in these three films, but thatís not to take away from the performances from the rest of the cast, especially Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist and Annika Hallin as Mikaelís sister and Lisbethís lawyer, Annika Giannini.

I understand that there are American versions in the pipeline and that Daniel Craig, who wants to play James Bond as a bisexual, is slated to be Mikael. In this film, Nyqvist plays Mikael as a real man with none of Craigís amorphous sexual characteristics. Rooney Mara, cast to play Lisbeth in the American version, faces enormous obstacles after Rapaceís exceptional performances, like someone playing Rhett Butler after Clark Gable defined the role.

Unfortunately, the subtitles are not nearly up to the quality of the film, often blending in with the background to become illegible. Near the end of the film one of the characters is receiving threatening emails. When the email is flashed on the screen it is on white paper and the subtitles are also in white with a white background. Disappearing ink that has already disappeared would be easier to read. I never did learn what the email said.

Finally, it is essential that the viewer be familiar with the first two books, either through reading the books or seeing the films. There is just too much that came before to watch this without knowing the history of the characters. As the conclusion of the trilogy, one watching this de novo will likely be at sea. In Swedish.

October 14, 2010