[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B0051NH5OA][/pullquote] The middle film of a trilogy is the most difficult one. There are a lot of questions to consider. For example; how do you get started? You don’t need to spend the first act introducing the characters, but can you assume all of your audience is familiar with the events of the first film? And how do you finish? Clearly you’ve got to set up for the finale of the trilogy, but film two needs to be satisfying in its own right, capable of standing alone as an enjoyable viewing experience. So, lots of difficult questions, and to be honest, I don’t know what the answers are. Unfortunately, I don’t think the makers of The Girl Who Played with Fire do either.
The movie opens with Lisbeth Salander enjoying the money she gained at the end of the first film, but soon she is on her way back to Sweden to deal with Bjurman, her legal guardian / sadistic rapist. Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist and his team at Millennium magazine are working on a story about a prostitution ring whose clients include policemen, lawyers and members of the judiciary. A young reporter, Dag, and his girlfriend Mia have come to them with the story and they’re keen to get it into the public sphere.
However, while they’re putting the final touches to it, Dag and Mia are brutally murdered. And when Bjurman turns up dead shortly afterwards, the police start looking in Salander’s direction and she has to find her way to clear her name, or at least make those responsible pay. Blomkvist is keen to help, if he can find her, and if she’ll let him.
One thing I should mention is that, unlike The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I haven’t read the novel upon which this movie was based. This means it was a completely different viewing experience “ not looking for variations from the novel or how the film has dealt with key scenes. So my view is based wholly on the movie itself.
First, the positives: The plot is pacy enough and in many ways conforms to a classic formula “ the wrongly accused protagonist being pursued by both the forces and law and the villains, and it is successful at keeping you gripped. Noomi Rapace is again excellent and Michael Nyqvist offers solid support as Blomkvist. But sadly, that’s where the positives end. It looks a bit like a made for TV movie, and worse, the story just feels so much sillier than The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The characters, though we’ve spent more time with them, become more two dimensional. The good guys are good “ honest and loyal (admittedly Salander’s actions are questionable but her motives are never in question). They always keep the faith and stay on the side of the underdog. The bad guys (who are numerous) are just bad guys, with no obvious motivation or reason for why they behave as they do. There’s even a six and a half foot brute, who, due to a genetic disorder is incapable of feeling pain “ almost like a Roger Moore era Bond villain.
And the end. What to say about the end? Without giving anything away, there’s one event which stretches credulity beyond breaking point and while the viewer is still reeling from that, the movie ends, somewhat abruptly. There’s no proper conclusion; rather, it’s just putting things into position for the next film.I don’t know if this is a problem with the book, or the film’s interpretation of the book, but it’s really unsatisfying.