Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The (2010)
Release Date: October 29th, 2010 MPAA Rating: R
Director: Daniel Alfredson Actors: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Jacob Ericksson, Sofia Ledarp, Mikael Spreitz, Georgi Staykov, Mirja Turestedt
he Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” neatly concludes Stieg Larsson’s “Millennium Trilogy,” but much of the action and violence of its predecessors has been left behind. The adventure and suspense of the first two films have been replaced by exhaustive research, heavy surveillance, and courtroom drama. While it’s still intriguing stuff, it just doesn’t possess the same caliber of nerve-jangling thrills.
As Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) recovers in a hospital from the severe injuries incurred during her confrontation with Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov) and Niedermann (Mikael Spreitz), charges of attempted murder are brought against her. The rogue government agency known as “The Section” that once protected Zalachenko now determines that both the Russian defector and Salander must be disposed of in order to protect their society’s secret existence. While Millennium magazine journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) attempts to liberate Salander through his writings, The Section sends assassins to silence the reporter, his coworkers, and the convalescing young woman.
Audiences have come to know Lisbeth Salander as a complex character. Her past brims with tragedy and her present life is perhaps even more harrowing. She’s smart, resourceful, and refuses to give up even after being abused, shot, and framed for murder. It’s here where the third film seems to stray from this intrepid perseverance. Salander seems unwilling to help her own cause as she refuses to cooperate with law enforcement, judiciary officials, and even her own defense attorney. It’s true that she’s been violated by those in power, but the unrelenting fighter appears to purposely make choices detrimental to her own chances at freedom. Dismissing conversation with her abusers is one thing, but offering only silence to those attempting to help her feels counterproductive and unfamiliarly perplexing.
Loose ends are tied up and all questions are answered (save for the reason Lisbeth has a large dragon tattoo on her back); yet the serial killers, murderers, and rapists take a back seat to conspiracies and witness stands. There’s still mystery to some degree, but attempting to exonerate Salander and catching the remaining members of The Section prove less intriguing than the perilous sleuthing from the first two episodes. The trial sequences, while interesting in their vast differences to American judicial portrayals, also lack the intensity of tracking down merciless killers. Salander does finally find justice and a little revenge, though it’s anticlimactic in presentation and devoid of much energy. The conclusion of the previous chapter hints at the reunion of the two protagonists and the possibility of their mutual involvement in absolving Salander, but “Hornet’s Nest” doesn’t deliver on that promise. Instead, it allots time for only brief interactions. It’s a shame, and a little disappointing, as Blomkvist and Salander are the driving forces behind the entire series and easily two of the most fascinating characters in modern cinema.
– Joel Massie