Film: Third Time Unlucky


Title: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

Release Date: November 26th

Life has not been kind to Lisbeth Salander. Wrongly institutionalised as a child, viciously raped by her legal guardian and shot in the head by her father. In this film, justice will be served to her abusers one way or another.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the third in a trilogy of Swedish films, following The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. The films are based on an acclaimed series of novels by Stieg Larsson. While fans of the series will see events brought to a conclusion, the film progresses very slowly and doesn’t have a lot to offer the casual viewer.

Picking up from where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off, the film opens with Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) being airlifted to hospital to have her gunshot wounds treated. She faces charges for the attempted murder of her abusive father, a defected Soviet spy.

While she recovers in hospital and then prison, a covert government agency works to have her committed to a mental institution to protect their involvement with her father. Meanwhile, righteous journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), along with various allies, tries to clear her name.

Much of the film is bogged down in the moves and counter-moves of these two groups, played out in excruciating detail. This goes on for far too long and has little suspense. The film finally picks up the pace in the final act when it switches from courtroom justice to violent revenge fantasy.

In an abandoned warehouse, Lisbeth faces off against her murderous half brother, a blonde giant of a man who can feel no pain. As with the previous two instalments, the film, although critical of the abuse of Lisbeth, also takes a voyeuristic pleasure in the violent situations in which she finds herself.

The star of the film is undoubtedly Noomi Rapace. Largely silent and unresponsive, her Lisbeth is nonetheless captivating. Michael Nyqvist is also excellent.

The film brings the trilogy to a satisfying conclusion, neatly tying up its various plot threads and managing to stay true to its main characters’ personas, particularly Lisbeth. Fans should enjoy it, but although an attempt is made to summarise the previous films, those who haven’t seen them are likely to be bored and confused.

In a Nutshell: For fans of the trilogy only.

– Alison Sneyd