Posted by: greercn | December 15, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

Magic in movies happens through alchemy and charm. This final part of a rare trilogy of great Swedish energy disappoints on this occasion – yet much of it has all the elements of a triumphant end to a glorious achievement. These three films have originality and warmth, yet the sheer chemistry of the two leading stars is misused and wasted in this film. 

There is great originality here, but it is erratic and not maintained. You will face moments of boredom.

As the young Lisbeth Salander, Tehilla Blad is a revelation. Her eyes reflect deep emotions and her astonishing performance reflects the physicality and pain of Noomie Rapace’s adult world.  For a child actress to be able to portray such depth is wonderful. She is someone to follow, in the years to come. She is not on screen for long, but she will stay in your mind.

As for Noomie as Lisbeth, you have to appreciate the sheer bucking of trends. To dress as a punk in full regalia – piercings, threatening cosmetics and full Mohawk hairdo – while in court? This is beyond bravery and well into the area of theatrical camouflage. Usually, received wisdom says to dress conservatively for court, always. Boy oh boy, does Lisbeth ignore that advice!

At the start of the film, Lisbeth is in hospital, following on from the injuries she received during  “The Girl Who Played With Fire”. In fact – to simplify – the first film is “Dragon”, the second film is “Fire” and this third one is “Nest”. So, at end of “Fire”, Lisbeth has upset a few people. She will go on trial for murder – as soon as she recovers from gunshot wounds – and needs the help of all her friends to get out of jail, and free.

All this is complicated by the fact that she has tried to kill her father. Her half-brother is still out there and out to kill her. If you have no idea what I am talking about, buy all three DVDs when they come out as a boxed set next year and do catch up.

All this disguises the fact that the strength of the first film is the energy of the two leads when they are together. Michael and Noomie fizz with chemistry when they are racing towards somewhere, together. Anywhere, indeed. In “Nest”, they are apart too often for this to be a loveable film.

Frankly, the court and hospital scenes linger a little too long. I have no problem with concentration on the plot. But I do have a problem with that difficult point at which Mr Watch becomes more interesting than Mr Screen. There are more than a few of these.

All the staff of Millennium Magazine are great. Sweden looks gorgeous. The bad guys our intrepid journalists fight are truly creepy and you never doubt the zeal or mission of good racing against evil. You want the good guys to win.

The Stratford Picture House audience enjoyed it, but spoke crossly of the wasted moments in the two and a half hour length. They told me the court scenes went on for WAY too long.

All the conspiracy plots about secret government sections went on and on and on some more. I love a good conspiracy,  but this was a shaggy dog tale of Russian spies and Swedish collusion. It outlived its welcome.

I will miss looking forward to this series and I will reread the books, again and again. I will buy the DVD set, when it is released. But I will always enjoy the first 30 minutes of the first film most, when the conventions of movies appeared to be rewritten.  Annika Giannini, as Michael’s sister and Anders Jonasson, as Lisbeth’s sympathetic doctor, have lovely moments.

Daniel Alfredson’s direction and Lena Andre’s affecting performance stand out, but cannot redeem the full promise made to us at the beginning of this trilogy.

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Responses

  1. Glad to hear that you liked Tehilla’s performance in the Millennium series. Fortunately more than you noticed her acting, so when Noomi’s next character also should be played as a child then Tehilla was the natural choice. And in Beyond (Svinalängorna) she got a much bigger role as the young Leena.

    I hope you will be able to see Beyond in London soon.

    • Please do pass on my best wishes to young Tehilla and tell her I think she is an excellent actress, who brings a great deal to the series. I will watch her career with great interest and will hope to see “Beyond” soon. Tehilla deserves big roles. Thank you for your comment.

  2. Today Tehilla got nominated to the Swedish film price “gulldbaggen” (as a Swedish Oscar) for best supporting actress!

    • That’s great news. Tehilla deserves the recognition.


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