The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

December 11, 2010 - The saga that began in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and continued with The Girl Who Played with Fire concludes in this third Swedish film based on Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. It's in Swedish with English subtitles. Noomi Rapace returns as the heroine, Lisbeth Salander. Michael Nyqvist is also back as crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

After the physical brutality her character endured in the first two films, Rapace must have felt this third one to be something like a vacation. Lisbeth spends most of her time in a hospital room or in a courtroom. Occasionally, we see her in jail, where cigarettes are a no-no but where she can get all the hairspray she wants.

At any rate, when last we saw Lisbeth, she had been shot several times and almost buried alive and was being flown by helicopter to the hospital. As Hornet's Nest opens, she's in the hospital where a very nice doctor is removing a bullet from her brain. As Lisbeth recovers from her injuries, the nice doctor provides cover by delaying her questioning by police as long as possible. The doctor is also very accommodating when it comes to getting Lisbeth what she needs to prepare her defense against charges of attempted murder involving her father, a Russian named Zalachenko.

As Lisbeth recovers, her friend Mikael can't be bothered to visit her in the hospital. He's much too busy preparing a special issue of his magazine, Millennium. He plans to prove Lisbeth's innocence by exposing a conspiracy involving some powerful people who want to keep Lisbeth from spilling their secrets. He's aided in his mission by the authorities, by his sister and by a hacker friend of Lisbeth's named Plague.

Overall review: *** Not the best film of the trilogy, but a generally satisfying conclusion. The major storylines get tied up neatly (perhaps a little too neatly) during the film's 2:28 running time, and most of the questions are answered. However, while the plot is serviceable, the film lacks the emotional intensity of the first entry. And, a word of caution: If you haven't seen the first two films or read the books, Hornet's Nest will be hard to follow. It's a decent ending, but it's not a good place to start.