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'Hornet's Nest' Buzzes With Suspense

Stieg Larsson's final book in his trilogy makes a strong thriller, but some things are still left unresolved.

The final installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, like the two previous films, is a strong, fierce suspense film.

One flaw, though, is that I’m not sure this film would work on its own as a standalone thriller.  The second installment REALLY is required viewing in order to get anything out of this third one.  So, if you’ve seen the second movie (The Girl Who Played with Fire), this one is a must see for sure! 

Just as dark and intense as the previous two, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest concludes the story of Lisbeth Salander and her fight for justice and independence.  Noomi Rapace as Salander proves herself here as one of the finest actors working today, anywhere in the world.  Her Salander has set the bar so high that is virtually impossible to think of anyone else playing this tattooed, troubled woman.  Since there is an English version of the film of the first book (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) in the works – set to be released at the end of 2011, it will be interesting to see if Rapace can be matched. 

In all three movies now, Rapace has put a harsh, determined face to Salander’s forcefully wounded persona.  In this final film, Rapace needed to prove both her innocence and her control at the same time and does this with passion and empowerment. 

We already know from the previous two films (mostly The Girl Who Played with Fire) that she is not an “open” person.  In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Salander has to open up just enough for the audience to see inside her psyche so we know the type of trauma (both physical and mental) that has been inflicted upon her by both the government and her family. 

In the first two films, I felt the screenplays were tauter and less meandering than the books.  And, in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, I again expected that…and got it!  In his third book, I always was unsure why Larsson spent so much time focusing on the character of Erika and her new job, just to leave it completely unconnected to the Salander/Blomkvist saga.  The movie completely leaves this tangent out. 

But, the film does fail to fill unanswered questions and holes Larsson had created in both the characters and the plot.  Naturally, after a total of six hours of screen time and 1500 pages, I wanted everything to be resolved…such as what about Lisbeth’s sister?  But, that would be my only major criticism.  As with its two predecessors, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest holds both its fast pace and my interest all the way until the end.  Maybe what I need is just a fourth story to get some of questions answered.  And a fifth…and a sixth…

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: 2009, Swedish (with English subtitles), rated R, 147 minutes, directed by Daniel Alfredson, starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, and Lena Endre.  The Niles Public Library owns this title on DVD. 

Larry Thall April 23, 2011 at 03:53 AM
Rooney Mara will be to Noomi Rapace what Daniel Craig was to Sean Connery--a poorly cast disaster. Perhaps the greed that always threatens to ruin anything that's good and decent will end with Lisbeth, played by Mara, boxing Stallone in Rocky XIII.

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