Film Review – The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Played with Fire is the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. While Hollywood still wrestles with casting for the remake of the first part of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, part 2 is about to hit UK cinemas.
Carrying on from where the first movie left off, Lisbeth Salander is in the Caribbean, with her fraudulently acquired riches, while Mikael Blomkvist is looking into a story about sex-trafficking. When Salander discovers that her corrupt guardian Nils Bjurman is planning to get the tattoo Salander gave him removed, she returns to Sweden to ensure this doesn’t happen. In doing so she accidentally gives him ammunition against her, and ends up framed for murders she didn’t commit.
If this all sounds overly complex, don’t worry, most of the plot makes a great deal of sense, and you don’t necessarily need to have read or seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The screenplay, written by Jonas Frykberg, pares down a lot of the extraneous plotting from Larsson’s original novel. The workings of the police team, Armanskij’s involvement in the investigation, these are all excluded. It’s a wise decision as the running time without this element is already over 2 hours.
However the time doesn’t drag as the script is well plotted and director Daniel Alfredson (taking over the reins from Niels Arden Oplev) ensures neat pacing from his cast.
Once again Noomi Rapace is perfect as Salander. She has very little dialogue and much of her screen time is devoted to reacting to events around her. Tight as a coiled spring, she captures perfectly the spirit of Larsson’s anti-heroine. Her screen time with Blomkvist is minimal, yet we see wonderful glimpses of her humanity, in her caring for her former guardian Holger Palmgren and her reactions to her lover Miriam Wu (the fantastic Yasmine Garbi).
The story, is as you’d expect, almost unrelentingly grim, but Michael Nyqvist as the journalist injects a gentle humour where possible. In some respects this film feels like it has a broader scope than the first, as the secondary characters come to the fore. We learn more of Salander’s past which starts to explain her behaviours, and see how determined Blomkvist is to protect her, with an unswerving faith that she is innocent of the crimes accused.
The plot twist and turns neatly, with a last stand denouement that had me gripping the arm of my seat. Salander seems set to become an iconic film character and with the final third already released in Sweden last year, I’m looking forwards to seeing the conclusion of this griping tale.
The Girl Who Played With Fire is released in UK cinemas on August 27th
This post was first published over at Blogomatic3000 on August 13