Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest / Luftslottet som sprängdes

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Dir: Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Annika Hallin, Lena Endre, Anders Ahlbom, Micke Spreitz, Jacob Ericksson, Sofia Ledarp, Hans Alfredson
Sweden/Denmark/Germany, 2010

Seen: November 4, 2010

Reason to see: I'm a completist. After seeing both The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor and The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden), I was very much anticipating seeing the completion of The Millennium Trilogy films based on the books by the late Stieg Larsson.

Trilogies are an interesting thing, and inevitably I want to draw comparisons and/or a ranking order between the three films in the Millennium Trilogy and although that isn't my normal nature to start a review that way I'm going to go with it. Out of the trilogy, the first film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor is the best of the series and truly is a masterpiece of film, storytelling, acting and easily defies audience expectations on multiple levels including an unconventional double protagonist team of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and Mikeal Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist). The second film, The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden we have not only a huge tonal and visual style shift but also a different and less interesting storyline following our now beloved leads characters, and I found this one to be disappointing after the stellar first instalment although it maintains the structure of a mystery film. I found my completist nature being the driving force to get me to get out to see The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest / Luftslottet som sprängdes, which nicely completes the trilogy and I'll be transparent and say that my low expectations after The Girl Who Played with Fire / Flickan som lekte med elden played quite a part in my enjoyment of this final instalment.

I found was quite a sense of relief to see the remaining chips fall in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest / Luftslottet som sprängdes, although I think the literal translation of The Air Castle That Exploded is more fitting for this final chapter. It's certainly a film I would only recommend to people who have seen and intrigued by the first two in the trilogy, and although I found it to be a successful completion of the set I was surprized that the mystery arc structure of the first two films was not only missing, but I missed not seeing a mystery itself. Here they go for a thriller tone at times to ramp up the excitement level, but it's really a drama that looks to closing ties and loose ends. I appreciate the closure as the journey for these characters has been a hard one, going through trying times and many difficulties. But the nature of that closure makes it in essence less dynamic that the other films, which sounds like a criticism although I'm not sure I would criticize the film for that - I think it's a brave and unconventional choice.

That being said, Lisabeth and Mikeal don't have a terrible lot to 'do' in the film, which feels so strange given how much happens in the first two films, especially The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor. But it's not all about what they 'do', as one of the treasures of the film is that by this time we've been Lisabeth and Mikeal for so long and through so much that just a look, a moment, or a hint of a smile can say much more than grander actions. It's a more subtle film that I thought would have diminishing returns but in fact has has a longer lasting impression than I had initially anticipated. Although the first in the series burns the brightest, it's well worth seeing the trilogy through to it's end.

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

Warnings: sexual violence, violence, harsh content

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it
I'll watch it again
I'd recommend it people who have started the Millennium Trilogy journey

12 minutes of preshow including 7 commercials and 3 previews: Monsters, The Company Men and The King's Speech

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

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