Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Following on directly from the second film in the Millennium trilogy, the final part of the series deals with the aftermath of the events that took place during the previous film. Both the central protagonist Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and her father Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov) lie seriously injured in hospital while journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) tries desperately to clear Salander’s name and discover the links between the state’s poor treatment of her and a shady underground police organisation known as The Section.

After the disappointment of the Girl Who Played with Fire I was glad to see a partial return to form in this film. The poor end to that film is partially explained as this one picks up seconds after the climax of the second. Although never reaching the heights of The Girl with the DragonTattoo, this movie is interesting but rarely tense. The story is more reminiscent of the original film and ties the series together nicely.

Much of the film finds central character Lisbeth Salander injured both physically and mentally and in one way or another trapped either in a hospital bed or prison cell. As a result her impact on proceedings is limited to what little she can do from her bed. This amounts to the writing of an autobiography which details the cruelty she suffered during the previous 28 years or so. Her words are later used for the basis of her side of the story when a third act court case takes place. While Salander is incarcerated Mikael Blomkvist makes it his task to uncover The Section, a group of shady secret police behind much of the events of the series. His story isn’t all that interesting but provides the much needed evidence to help Lisbeth. The best sections of the movie take place inside the courtroom in which Lisbeth returns to her feisty, smart former self and with the help of Blomkvist’s lawyer sister defends herself from accusations of attempted murder while implicating others for more serious crimes.

The courtroom scenes are very good but also include some unfortunate plot holes. I know nothing of the Swedish legal system but it is my understanding in most legal systems that all evidence must be submitted before a case begins. In traditional dramatic fashion new evidence is unearthed just in the nick of time here. There were other little inconsistencies which felt unrealistic which is a shame because despite the sometimes out there storylines, the whole series has been fairly realistic. The rest of the film retains the realism of the rest of the series and isn’t gripping but kept me interested. There are shades of revenge throughout the story and everyone you’d want to gets their comeuppance. One of the many cast members returning is Micke Spreitz as Niedermann, the silent, giant killer from the previous film. He has some good scenes and is involved in an excellent sequence with Noomi Rapace but like the previous film the two central characters share very little screen time which is a waste.

Noomie Rapace once again shines and the rest of the cast are fine. The direction is also fine but not flashy and the film is less televisual than The Girl Who Played with Fire. As it also benefits from a better story it is all around a better movie. As a conclusion to the series is it ok but I was left wanting a little more and something a bit better. Neither sequel lives up to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo which is a shame after such a strong start and as a stand alone film The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest doesn’t work. Despite this I quite enjoyed it and was glad that it was better than The Girl Who Played with Fire.

GFR 8/10