Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Luftslottet Som Sprängdes)

Say Your Prayers

Noomi Rapace has The Millennium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson to thank for in propelling her to stardom the world around, where she's synonymous with her character Lisbeth Salander, the eccentric female hacker who sports a large mean looking dragon tattoo on her back. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest completes the film trilogy, and is the concluding episode from what had started out in the second installment The Girl Who Played with Fire. For those who have not watched the middle film, my advice is to do so before you embark on this because it leads directly from the cliffhanger ending, with characters and plot situations that are intricately linked.

Being the final film, it is a fitting wrap to what was started, although it didn't go out with a big bang, but a slight whimper to a character whom we associate with strength and sheer determination. There's a three act structure to the finale, where the first focuses on Lisbeth's rehabilitation from her injuries sustained in the previous film, then shifting to the preparation of an impending court case where her freedom is put on the line given the forces that be who are adamant in keeping her in an institution, followed by the court hearing itself. Yes you read that right, except that the proceedings in court doesn't throw up any surprises, not discuss something that the audience don't already know.

Which is what resulted in the finale being a little bit flat. One normally associates courtroom dramas with lawyer treachery and trickery, and the whole "Object/Sustain!" repertoire that makes for an engaging verbal tussle where truth gets buried under the fabrication of lies, and you'd wait for that one moment of brilliance where tables get turned. While there's this precise turning point in the film, perhaps it's because as an audience we're already aware of the truth and what's already hidden up the characters' sleeves that took away some of the shine from the "surprise" unbeknownst to the opposition, that it became more of an exercise in necessity just waiting to happen.

The other half of the dynamic duo Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) also didn't have much to do other than to work on his new Millennium issue dedicated to tell the truth about Lisbeth, in hope that it will bring a positive outcome at the end of it all. While largely absent in the second film, the third continues this absence in part due to the focus shifting to the entire support group assisting Lisbeth from behind the scenes, which in some ways demonstrates that she's not quite alone in this world as she would like to think she is. From Annika (Annika Hallin) her defense lawyer to Plague (Tomas Kohler) her hacker friend, everyone gets significant screen time to beef up their characters.

What made The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo extremely compelling is the coming together of two skilled opposites to solve a long time mystery, while getting themselves embroiled against some really sick enemies. Here the opponents are more cerebral and aged, save for one hulking blondie from the middle film who does not feel pain and shares a link with Lisbeth, who but spends most of his time in the shadows and good for a handful of scenes just to up the action quotient. Again both leading characters spend too much time apart, and their chemistry from working together, the highlight of the first film, still continues to be sorely missed.

It's the much anticipated finality being achieved in wrapping up this franchise, that all's that's left is to wait for David Fincher's version to see how it compares to the first film. There's nothing much left to be revealed in the final installment other than to define Lisbeth Salander's background a little bit more and to explain why she's so hunted by her enemies, If anything, the cast continues their top notch fleshing out of Stieg Larsson's characters, with Noomi Rapace leading the pack in the promise of her potential outside of this franchise.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest opens in cinemas this Thursday!

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