The third story in the Millennium series begins precisely where the second ended. Lisbeth is taken to the hospital. Shot three times and buried alive, she needs emergency brain surgery to remove a bullet. Her father is still alive and her half brother is still on the prowl. Eventually Lisbeth is transferred to a Stockholm jail where she awaits trial for attempted murder. In this story we learn the big backstory--not just Lisbeth's relationship with her father and half brother, but the relationship between Lisbeth's father and a secret security unit, unknown even to the Swedish prime minister. These characters are anxious to remain anonymous. That means eliminating witnesses (or, in Lisbeth's case, consigning her to an asylum, permanently).
Here's what to keep in mind. You should not pay any attention to film critics who fail to perceive the film's genre. Just because there are three books in the series, with a repeating cast of characters, you should not expect all three of the stories to be the same. The first story is actually a 'locked room' mystery (a locked island mystery, to be precise). The second story is very plot-driven, with far fewer atmospherics and the flavor of action/adventure. The third story is quite different. This is a legal thriller. The 'complaint' that Lisbeth spends half of the film in the hospital and the other half in court is unfair. Hey, this is Lisbeth. Do you really think she's going to sit idly by and not play a pivotal role in her own defense? And besides, we have the posse to end all posses: Blomkvist and the Millennium team, Lisbeth's former employer at the security agency and last, but most certainly not least, her hacker pal, Plague. They are supported by Blomkvist's sister, who serves as Lisbeth's defense attorney, and a whole security team, investigating the secret security team. There's plenty of conflict here between good and evil to satisfy any viewer and as the camera shifts from good guy to bad and the layers of Lisbeth's defense case are assembled, the (more cerebral) plot is riveting.
Finally, I don't want to give anything away, but trust me on this--Lisbeth is not going to be in the hospital or the court room forever. Her crazed half brother is still at large and he's got some serious 'splainin to do, except that Lisbeth may cut that discussion short, in a way that only Lisbeth could conceive and execute. The final scenes are, shall we say, very, very memorable.
As always, the direction is superb, the acting pitch perfect and the ending more satisfying than I could express (without spoiling it for all of you).
Given the genre and given what the film aspires to do, this is the top film in the series.
"The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet's Nest" is really more like "The Girl Who Played With Fire Part II" -- this movie begins mere minutes after the end of the previous one, and everything stems from the film before it. The third and final film adapted from Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy is a taut, unnerving exploration of a government cover-up -- with the titular "girl" as their victim.
Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) has been shot in the head, and is rushed to a hospital for surgery -- the same hospital as her evil father Zalachenko. And since she's still being framed for murder, Mikael (Michael Nyqvist) devotes the forthcoming issue of "Millennium" to clearing her name and revealing the government's dirty secrets (including how they had her institutionalized as a kid).
But when Zalachenko threatens to rat them out, the "Section" sends an assassin to shoot him. Unfortunately, this group also wants want to punish Lisbeth by sticking her in another mental home, and the pedophile director Teleborian is all too happy to lock her up. The best chance Lisbeth has is to send her own "autobiograpy" to Mikael.
It's not a whodunnit, and it's not a straight thriller. "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" is a slow-moving, complex affair, centering on powerful men who try to crush women who defy them, and a system filled with in corrupt muck, cruelty and murder. It's part legal drama, part conspiracy story, and part bloody thriller.
And while not as harrowing as the movies before it, this movie is a bleak tangled web of threats, evidence,stalkings, and the occasional gory death (along with the hysteria that accompanies them). As the story goes on, it tauter and frightening, buoyed up by Lisbeth's impassive defiance (she walks into her own trial in full goth-punk regalia!).
The one flaw? The last fifteen minutes feel disconnected from the rest of the film, and the last scene feels... anticlimactic, and vaguely unfinished. Then again, since Larsson intended to write ten books, perhaps the "unfinished" flavor is inevitable.
Rapace is silent for long stretches of the story, and her impassive face, deep eyes and leashed energy make her a presence even when she doesn't speak. Her Lisbeth is full of defiance against the world, and it can only be seen through her dress and her silence. Nyqvist is good but rather overshadowed by Rapace; Anders Ahlbom is wonderfully vile as Teleborian --it's INCREDIBLY satisfying to see the pedophile get torn apart.
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" ends on a "to be continued" note that will never be continued, but it's a satisfying end to the tale of Lisbeth Salander.
on May 13, 2011
I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with a sense of shock and awe. The Girl who played with Fire left me wanting more. After reading the first two books I saw the Swedish movies with english subtitles. They did great justice to the books and sanitized them a bit to reduce the shock factor. I was not disappointed by this movie and was especially happy with the English dubbing that relieved me of the distraction of reading subtitles. Action, adventure, intrigue, government conspiracies, suspense, well developed characters, great plot.....it was an excellent movie and the 2 1/2 hours flew by. My only regret is that Stieg Larsson died before completing the 10 book series he had planned. I have heard that there is a fourth book and I really hope this is true. I need another Lizbeth and Bloomquist fix.
on October 31, 2010
I just watched this movie and this movie blew me away with its faithful and suspenseful adaptation of the last novel in Stieg Larsson's Trilogy. Noomi Rapace is simply riveting and outstanding in her definitive portrayal of Lisbeth Salander -- there's no way a remake can match her searing & intense performance. Lisbeth Salander is confined to her hospital room or cell in the first part of the movie -- she does not express herself verbally but by the way she looks at people. Lisbeth Salander is a very interesting character whom the audience roots for because she is an extremely capable young woman who is a strong fighter and survivor. She cares about and fights for justice to be meted out to those who abuse women. She went through so much crap and mistreatment at the hands of authority figures in her life, but she is able to overcome all these difficulties due to her intelligence, resourcefulness, and capabilities. We come to understand her antisocial behavior. In this film, we get to see more of a glimpse into the relationships that Lisbeth develops with those people who come to her aid and who genuinely care about her well-being. This movie is appealing because it talks about healing from abuse and oppression and the fight for seeing justice being carried out.
Daniel Alfredson did a great job of faithfully adapting the book to film. Even though I knew the outcome by reading the novel, I was riveted to the screen; this movie was very suspenseful and dramatic. A lot of things in the book are portrayed and explained -- more details of Lisbeth's ordeal at age 12 in the St. Stephen's Psychiatric Ward under the care of Peter Teleborian, what happens to Lisbeth as she's recovering from the wounds she suffered in "The Girl Who Played with Fire", Mikhel Blomkvist's (and the staff at Millennium) effort to publish Lisbeth's side of the story, what happens to Zalachenko/ Zalachenko's ties to the section in the Swedish government and their effort to bring down Lisbeth, a glimpse of the key people that come to Lisbeth's aid, the pivotal courtroom trial where Giannini (Mikhel's sister) ably defends Lisbeth, and what happens to Lisbeth's brother. Suffice it to say, that this film, like the book, ties up all the loose ends of the Trilogy into a very satisfying conclusion.
The section in the book which I wanted to see the most portrayed in the film was the dramatic courtroom trial -- the book devotes several chapters in great detail to this trial and the film does a great job of portraying the essential aspects of the trial and its outcome.
I felt this third part of the Trilogy was just as good if not better than the first one, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You'll watch this movie and cheer. Very satisfying and highly recommended!
Sadly, the DVD features are meager. The only bonus features are the English language dub track and a theatrical trailer, nothing else. I wished there were featurettes and commentary to the movie, but there are none.
on December 15, 2011
To the point, DO NOT MISS THIS "EXTENDED EDITION" if you are interested in the Swedish film/TV production of Steig Larson's novel of the same name (or either of the other two productions in the series). WHETHER OR NOT you have already seen the seriously truncated (shortened, mangled) version which was earlier released on DVD, BD, and streaming, THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED. Unlike the previously released version, this "extended edition" provides a coherent presentation. Being one of the inexplicably over the top fans of anything connected with the three Larsen novels (or associated biographies, etc), I read all three novels early this year and then waited with bated breath for the "movie" versions. I was seriously disappointed with all three earlier, shortened movie releases, and particularly the last two of the three in the series. This was because new characters suddenly showed up on the screen without either sufficient introduction, or even identification. Or there were very significant holes in the story line (in addition to those already extant in the novels!).
As many of you will know, the three novels were filmed for Swedish television, with one film for each of the three novels. This disc presents one of the three films as originally formed and appearing on Swedish television - each film, including this one, was broken into two segments of approximately 90 minutes in length, for a movie lasting a total of 180 minutes. When the Swedish TV version was presented in American theaters (and DVDs and BDs, the latter which I own), it was re-edited, and seriously shortened. As far as I am concerned, this ruined all three original "movie" presentations.
Despite the fact that the productions were evidently produced for first showing on Swedish TV, the production values (both sight and sound) are certainly comparable to those of first rate American movies. This reviewer does not know but strongly suspects that the producers had ultimate theater showing in mind when the films were made.
And finally, the Amazon's streamed version of the Extended Edition is free of notable artifacts on this reviewer's 109 inch Stewart Screen - in the streamed version the color balance and brightness are good - the black levels, interfered with by encoding and transmission noise, do not equal that of the BluRay disc, but are certainly acceptable. Needless to say, I was grateful and quite thrilled that the original version finally made it to market in Amazon's streamed version with Amazon's typical quality!
on July 18, 2010
TO BE BRIEF : IF YOU'VE FOLLOWED THE FIRST TWO MOVIES OR HAVE READ ALL THREE BOOKS, THIS THIRD AND FINAL MOVIE WILL LEAVE YOU VERY SATISFIED.
on December 26, 2010
"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is a terrific film, a perfect end piece for the Millennium Trilogy. I was transfixed during the whole movie. I have seen all three films now, and they are all extremely well-done. In my case I saw this movie first, and will now read the book. I did that with the second in the series, and it proved to be, for me, the best way of going about it.
Lisbeth Salander is near death. She is in the same hospital with her sadistic, evil father. There is a vivid operating sequence in which they remove a bullet from her brain. She makes a slow recovery with the help of her very skilled and loyal, young personal doctor. She is going to be tried by the prosecutor for the assault on her father, and she is also targeted by a large rogue outfit operating out of the Swedish intelligence service. They are a very large element in this film. It's like a Le Carré thriller.
Meanwhile back at the Millennium magazine Mikael Blomkvist and the staff are doing everything possible to save Lisbeth from legal traps. In this movie both protagonists share the screen, but from afar in separate equally engrossing sequences.
The movie is in Swedish with English subtitles, but it is very easy to follow. The cinematography is outstanding. The scenes of Stockholm and Sweden are stunning.
Lisbeth is extremely strong mentally and physically. She is brilliant, but emotionally her father and other men have crippled her, and she lacks the ability to really love and to say a simple thank you, although she struggles to do so. Her lawyer, Blomkvist's sister, Advokat Annika Giannini is very shrewd and competent, and the doctor is a very sympathetic figure.
The evil psychiatrist, Dr. Teleborian, is a sexual abuser who kept her as a child restrained in an asylum for months. He is very much her enemy and wants to get her back in his clutches again. She is also pursued by her step-brother, the blond giant who feels no pain and who kills mercilessly.
Every actor in this film deserves high praise for their acting skills; Noomi Rapace is the perfect Lisbeth, and Michael Nyquist is the ideal Blomkvist.
Knowing how American movie makers can ruin a brilliant series like this, I do not look ahead with anticipation to the coming American versions. For me these three films are the sine qua non of an authentic redition of novels.
Right up until the end you will be mesmerized by this film. Friends who have read the book attest to its faithful rendering, and as a moviegoer I can attest to its cinematic strengths. Now that I have seen all three films, I see them as one united tapestry whose threads come together luminously. There's a gripping pursuit scene near the end which recalls the suspense of the second movie. It's the story of a victim who overcomes her victimhood but only after paying a very high price.
Most people who see this film are probably already well familiar with the story surrounding Lisbeth Salander, the unlikely "heroine" of the trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Director Daniel Alfredson, who also directed The Girl Who Played with Fire, apparently also assumes this, as he spends little time giving background, instead showing quick cuts of a few scenes from the two earlier films and allowing Lisbeth's background to unfurl through her trial for murder. Beginning the film at about the halfway point of the final novel, Alfredson also omits most of the danger represented by her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Russian defector who is trying to kill her in the hospital where they are both patients recuperating from life-threatening injuries. Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov) has only a cameo role here.
For much of this film, actress Noomi Rapace, as Lisbeth, does not speak, instead conveying information through her facial expressions, allowing the viewer to see up close just how good an actress she is and how much she can convey with the blink (or lack of a blink) of an eye. Lisbeth is certainly a disturbed individual--angry, unable to trust anyone, reclusive, and no stranger to using violence to solve her problems--but much of this behavior is a result of her institutionalization and the physical and sexual abuse by virtually all the men which whom she came in contact as a child, including the care-givers assigned to her by the state.
When Lisbeth is finally released from the hospital for trial, Rapace plays the role to the hilt, and her close-ups in the courtroom are stunning--her eyes going dead, her slight grimaces, her blank expressions, her palpable vulnerability. Represented in court by Mikael Blomqvist's sister Annika Giannini (played with wonderful subtlety by Annika Hallin), she appears to be everything that the uncompromising legal system abhors, and she does nothing to help herself. As in the past, Michael Nyqvist plays the role of Mikael Blomqvist, the caring writer/publisher of Millenium Magazine who wants to help her. As he and the staff of Millenium investigate the circumstances surrounding Lisbeth's assignment to a mental institution at the age of twelve, and the accusations of abuse which she has made, the contrast between their commitment and active involvement in her future and the lack of affect that she shows toward her own future is dramatic and moving.
Unlike the previous films, there is very little dramatic violence here, though Lisbeth's confrontation with her giant brother Ronald Niedermann (Micke Spreitz), who is unable to feel pain, is one of the film's high points. There are no graphic sex scenes, and the only sexual abuse is done off-camera. The Swedish setting--and the mood--are dark and cold, paralleling the life of Lisbeth Salander. The final scene, subtly different from the novel, consists of Lisbeth uttering one word--a word that had as much long-term dramatic effect for me as the word "Rosebud" does in Orson Welles's Citizen Kane. Ultimately, the viewer feels a kind of peace at the end of the film, a sensitive and satisfying conclusion to this trilogy. Mary Whipple
on August 14, 2011
My only minor complaint was that the English dialogue was little stilted and wooden at times, but that was very minor, and other than that I thought it was a very well done, well written adaptation of a very good book. Noomi Rapace was simply the right actress for the part, she owned it.
on April 7, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen -- if you are lucky enough to read this, you now have no excuse to go back and watch the shortened, dubbed version. Will this take more time, and take just a little more work?(unless you speak Swedish) Yes; but this is the ONLY WAY to watch this series...and if you watched the first two in the shortened/dubbed version...or watched only the new American theatrical version of the first movie, you are hereby ordered to go back to the beginning and see it as it was meant to be viewed. There is no comparison. Personally, I am stunned that so few people are seeking this version out...but again, lucky you...you found it!