Monday, 12 July 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden


Dir: Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest / Luftslottet som sprängdes)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Georgi Staykov, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson, Yasmine Garbi, Paolo Roberto
Sweden/Denmark/Germany, 2010

Seen: July 8, 2010 - special advance screening at Scotiabank

Reason to see: The first film in the trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor was fantastic and therefore this title landed in my Most Anticipated Films of the Year (Part 2!) List

There are two very important things to know before seeing The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden. First, it is clearly Part 2 coming after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor and therfore you need to Part 1 first. The second thing to know is that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor is a film I've called easy to praise, but hard to recommend as it is an extremely hard film watch and includes xtreme violence, sexual violences, torture, disturbing imagery & ideas. But, if you can make it through those warnings, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor is one of the best films of the year so far. Sadly, The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden does not live up it's predecessor.

Both Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist reprise their roles of hacker Lisabeth Sander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist respectively, which I was very exited about as they are both such great characters. But there felt like a bit of an imbalance with the characters, not only with each other but also separately. Lisabeth Sander who was ferocious and feral in the first film, is very mellowed out here which I can understand and don't have a problem with. I do have a problem with that they actually changed her character in not only historical references but more so in the minute details, which in another film series I would barely even note as an inconsistency but with Lisbeth these slight changes and even notations of carelessness completely shatter the basis of which her character is created. Shatter. I didn't believe it for a second. On the flip side, with Mikael Blomkvist we get almost no development with his character at all. He is present and involved in different aspects of the plot, but here wasn't much Micke kicking around, which is a shame because he's one of interesting characters I've come across in ages for oddly being very normal: emotionally accessible, kind and genuine. He still was all those things in this film too, but they didn't have a chance to shine likely because there wasn't much interaction going on.

Although the characters one of the most compelling part of the series, they are mysteries at heart so plot is of huge importance. Being spoiler-free I'll only touch on it, but again I was so surprized at the take here. It has some new veins of plot here, but it relies heavily on what happened in the first film. I was like "I don't want to go through that again!", and I really didn't expect to see footage from the first film, but it's there. It does have it's own arc, but the mystery is nowhere near as clever and flushed out as the first film which I akin to those fuzzy pictures you see at malls that suddenly 'appear'. This film, it's more like just putting the puzzle pieces together without the picture on the box and then at the end going "Oh, okay".

I wanted more. I expected more. A lot more. If you are going to sit through the extremeness of the content, the pay off has to be huge and I didn't feel like it was enough. It's also clearly Part 2 in the sense not only of coming after Part 1 but also because later we will get Part 3 to complete The Millennium Trilogy. Now, will I go see Part 3, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest / Luftslottet som sprängdes? Yes, I will. Before seeing this part, I was invested in the characters and the world, but now I want to know what happens and my curiosity will get the best of me.

See also: Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (DVD Review)

Warning: Extreme violence, sexual violence, torture

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend only if you've seen and enjoyed the first film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor

3 minutes of preshow with 2 previews: The Kids Are All Right and The American

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


Ryan McNeil said...

Part of me wonders if this film will seem better in context, and if it suffers from being the middle child of a trilogy.

I dug it - admittedly slightly less than TATTOO, mostly due to the lack of Salander/Blomkvist interaction - but sort of want to withhold final judgement until the fall when we get that final chapter.

Don't even get me started on my overall hesitation on whether or not to read the books!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Seem better in what context? Like if you watched all three back to back?

I've heard the trilogy described as diminishing returns after the first, which is so sad because that first one was SO GOOD. I was so underwhelmed by this part though.

I'm in the middle of the second book and it is *very* good, as the first was. But, it's spends time with (and the movie does too), with characters I'm not fond of. It's rare that I've enjoyed reading a series after seeing the films but so far this one that has been a good way to go - at least for me.

Ryan McNeil said...

The three books tell one long story. Judging this part on its own could in fact be like trying to judge the middle hundred pages of a novel without reading the beginning or the end.

It's "OK" right now...when we see the conclusion, it might give us more to love about this film in hindsight.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

They might end up telling their own story over the course of the three films, but the first two clearly have their own, completed, arc themselves.

The arc in film 1 was fantastic and totally held it's own, but film 2 ... not so much. The storytelling wasn't as strong, the tension level was a completely different tone, the sense on intrigue wasn't there. I'm not sure it could have been done as well as the first, but it certainly could have been done better than what we ended up with.

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