“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”
Reviewed by Niclas Goldberg

We who are curious about David Fincher’s work (“Seven”, “The Social Network” etc) might be pleasantly surprised with his take on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books. Fincher’s capacity to captivate edgy atmospheres is high. The enormous hype of Larsson’s books and the compelling actress Noomi Rapace are perhaps the only reasons why you still want to check out the Swedish version of “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”. However, this final filmed story of the trilogy can leave a funny flavor in your mouth. Instead of creating a pulsating wrap up it proves to be stiff - the revenge of the underdog cyber punk is forced suspense with only moments of precision.


The film takes off where "The Girl Who Played with Fire" finished, again helmed by Swedish director Daniel Alfredson. It literally cleans up the previous film. Lisbeth Salander lies in critical condition at an ICU, she is fighting for her life in more ways than one. If and when she recovers, she’ll be taken to stand trial for three murders. With the help of Mikael Blomkvist she will prove her innocence and plot revenge against the man and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Again Noomi Rapace nails the restrained dynamite of Salander. Often she doesn’t move her pale face but gloomily stares into thin air –especially in some great close ups- and yet she cracks us with her intensity. Unfortunately there are not enough scenes with her as the story builds up to the potent trial in which her punk persona blooms with piercing, heavy make-up, and a hardcore hairdo. Instead we follow grumpy old men, a blond goon, Salander’s half-brother, who aimlessly wanders as a ridiculed cliché and a dreary Michael Nyqvist (Blomkvist), whose lack of magnetism leaves the screen frame numb. Why Nyqvist is chosen for so many leading roles in Swedish Cinema is an unsettling mystery. Most of the other actors in the film are theatrical - their mannerisms slay the flow. One exception is Annika Hallin playing Salander’s Defense Lawyer, you also can enjoy her in the clever Swedish films “The Girl”, “I taket lyser stjärnorna” and “Patrik Age 1.5”.

On one side of the scale there is the original story at a high level, on the other side there is the sagging pace and the thin density. The film was initially made for TV, and you can feel that throughout. For once a Hollywood remake of non-American material might find true gruffness and tension in David Fincher’s edgy hands.
At least, let’s hope.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest opens in select cities on Oct. 29. For more info and movie times: http://dragontattoofilm.com/

Goldberg was slightly more positive in his reviews of the earlier movies although Salander and actress Noomi Rapace is what carries at least the 2nd film, "The Girl Who Played with Fire"