here earlier this year.
A year on from the Vanger case, Lisbeth Salander returns to Stockholm from travelling the world, and is promptly framed for a triple murder. She becomes the subject of a national manhunt, and one of the few who believes in her innocence is Blomkvist. He also believes the murders to be connected to a sex trafficking ring Millennium was about to expose, and tries to re-establish contact with Lisbeth as he investigates.
Since I reviewed the first film, it has been confirmed that Rooney Mara will play Lisbeth in David Fincher's English-language remake of the series, with Noomi Rapace having finished with the role to try and break into Hollywood as the female lead in Sherlock Holmes 2. After two films, it's all too clear that everyone involved in the remakes have their work cut out for them, if they want to come close to matching the quality of filmmaking on display from the Swedish versions.
In this way, it's ironic that Daniel Craig has signed on for Fincher's version, because the original seems to have been invaded by an old-timey Bond henchman. I'm waiting to read Stieg Larsson's books until after I've seen the films, but this introduction just seemed bizarre at first. I got past my initial surprise though, and I admit that Niedermann is an intimidating presence rather than a comical one, which only makes the last act revelation of a full-on disfigured sub-Bond villain more of a betrayal.
There's also a surfeit of the infamous teal and orange look that's becoming more and more prolific in Hollywood films, and I was astonished and annoyed to see colour grading used so liberally here. After seeing Niels Arden Oplev shoot the snowy vistas of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so well, I'm not sure why new director Daniel Alfredson went the other way entirely- it's distracting.
It's also admirable that this story expands to bring in new characters without ever forgetting the existence of minor characters from the last time around. We catch up with several characters from the first film and this continues in the slightly literary feel that made the first one so captivating. Without having read the books, I can tell that some of the dialogue is lifted straight from the prose, i.e. "It was like he'd had boxing lessons, but he hadn't really paid attention." While it often doesn't quite work when you lift wholesale from the source, in films like the first two Harry Potter adaptations, there's a rich sense of detail in the Millennium films that seems to have leapt right off the page.
It all builds to a conclusion that is both typical of the second act of a trilogy and boldly enticing. It ends with the same kind of hook for the final part of the trilogy that we've seen in The Empire Strikes Back or The Two Towers, but I'm damned if it didn't have me counting down the days until I can see the final film. The mystery at the heart of this film isn't so much self-contained as it is a connector between the introduction to the characters and the inevitably epic conclusion, and I can only express mild disappointment that it didn't end as definitively as the first film.
The Girl Who Played With Fire is showing in selected cinemas nationwide. Part 3, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest arrives in selected cinemas on November 25th.
If you've seen The Girl Who Played With Fire, why not share your comments below? If you're thinking what I'm thinking, you're wondering if Richard Kiel will play Niedermann in the English language version, just for the LOLs.
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.