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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Films - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - directed by Daniel Alfredson

Star rating – 8/10

Much has been written about how this last in the Millennium trilogy of the films of the block buster novels by Stieg Larsson is a) not as good as the book, b) doesn’t stand on its own merits, and c) has more of a made for TV feel than a movie. I agree with all these statements, but still think it is a great film, and a fitting end to the wonderful anti-hero, Lisbeth Salander’s struggles with the establishment.

To qualify the statements slightly, firstly, none of the three films are as good as the books they are dramatising, but given that any original book is usually better than any filmed version, and given that these particular books are among the best I have read for a long time that would have been a big ask. The first book, and therefore film, is the only one that really stands on its own as a story. The second and third volumes are really ones to be devoured one after the other, with scarcely a heart beat between finishing one and hungrily beginning the next (well that’s how it was for me at least), so it felt quite odd to have a gap between the films. And yes they were made for Swedish TV so they do have that sort of feel, something that I am sure the impending Hollywood remakes will address.

But I defy any remake to come up with an actress so fitting and perfect as Noomi Rapace is for the part of Lisbeth Salander. For much of this two and a half hour film she is not on screen, as the intricate plot threads are woven to their brilliant conclusion. When she is present, she is either in a hospital bed, or being silent in the court room for most of the time. But Rapace manages to convey all you need to know about how Lisbeth is feeling, either angry, traumatised, bitter or triumphant, with just the look in her eyes.

The plot is intricate and fast paced, and includes state cover ups of the highest order, along with brute force and thuggery, and the little people battling against all odds to get justice. We don’t get the full feel of Lisbeth’s skills at computer hacking in these films, inevitably lots of detail has to be left out to cut the books down to size. But I still loved it, and love the anti – hero Lisbeth Salander, with all her vulnerability, strength and intelligence. Mess with her too much at your peril Hollywood.

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