The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest * * * *

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Director: Daniel Alfredson.
Screenplay: Ulf Ryberg.
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Jacob Ericksson, Sofia Ledarp, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, Mikael Spreitz, Georgi Staykov.

Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium trilogy” draws to a close with this third and final installment and after amassing a collective running time of nearly 7 hours, it still grips like a vice.

Outlaw hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) awaits trial for attempted murder. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) gathers evidence about her tragic past to help her case. A Swedish intelligence agency wants her silenced and her maniacal half-brother (Mikael Spreitz) wants her dead.

What with the mystery of the first installment and the action of the second, now we are given the talky final act. The cover-up of all the past scandals and indescretions and justice handed out in legal forms. Daniel Alfredson once again takes the directorial reins after the Second film. This time though, he’s learned his lesson about pace. It’s not as rushed, preferring instead, the slow investigative pace from the first film. Once again, the hook isn’t as good but the tension builds slowly and assuredly as we learn the eventual fate of Lisbeth. Like the second also, Lisbeth and Blomkvist’s relationship is very distant. They share very little screen time and whenever they do, it is strained and awkward. Blomkvist’s love unrequited. Lisbeth is less active this time. She is mainly bed ridden and displays very little in her communication with everyone around her. This however, proves to be just another master stroke in her battle for survival. On the surface, it seems that Noomi Rapace has less to work with, now that her strong-willed character has been seriously wounded. Nevertheless, when you watch the ever so subtle facial expressions from her, as she tries to remain stoic, you realise how much of a wonderfully reserved performance she puts in. With less dialogue, it’s probably her finest display from all three films. Although this is an altogether more solid narrative than the second, some parts feel rushed and some questions are left unanswered. Still, it’s a very fine trilogy and the characters inhabit a world – although not altogether pleasant – that’s been a gruelling yet rewarding experience.

If the Americans (or director David Fincher to be precise) can capture half of the spirit of these films with his version of the trilogy, then hopefully, mature writing and exstensive filmmaking will become the norm.

Mark Walker

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