The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest is the finale to the Millennium trilogy, based on Steig Larsson’s phenomenally popular novels. As regular readers of these reviews will know, I was less than impressed by the first two instalments. This third film, however, begins confidently, launching straight in from where The Girl Who played With Fire left off. Director Daniel Alfredson has recognised that by now most people will be familiar with the characters and the plot so far, and that there is little point compromising the film for the minority who aren’t. This decision means that a brisk pace is established early and the story can be developed without lengthy explanations of previous events.
Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is badly injured due to the events at the end of film two, and prosecutors are just waiting for her to be healthy enough that they can interview her and press charges. Back at Millennium magazine, Micke Blomqvist and his team are aware that dark forces are gathering once again around their friend and are gearing up to do all they can to help her.
The plot of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest develops from here as the conspiracy against Salander grows are and becomes ever more sinister. The film is well-placed and the story, while far-fetched, is compelling enough to keep you watching all the way through. Though a lengthy two hours and twenty minutes, it never feels like it drags, which isn’t something that could be said of the first two. However, some of their problems remain, such as the lack of genuinely memorable scenes and the workaday direction. Also, it’s an unfortunate feature of the plot that Salander spends most of the time in hospital or custody. There’s a lot of sitting around to be done in these surroundings, and since she’s not co-operative with the police, very little talking. So the film naturally spends more time with Blomqvist who is out on the streets putting the pieces of the puzzle together. This makes perfect sense, but does mean that the movie’s most interesting character (and best actor) is under-used.
Things pick up later on when Salander stands trial, and the courtroom scenes are pretty gripping. It’s also pleasing that there’s a satisfying sense of an ending, which was inevitably missing from part two. All the threads from the three movies have been tied up and completed. However, on reflection, this initial satisfaction is replaced by a slight disappointment that they’ve been tied up so very neatly “ surely things in life are never quite that simple?