Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Genre: Action/Adventure, Crime Drama
Opens locally Friday, October 29th, 2010,
Run Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
[Film is in Swedish with English Sub-titles]
Some Background. If you are not familiar with, or haven't heard of the Millennium Trilogy by now, you must be living under a rock. The bestselling Swedish novels written by the late Stieg Larsson are the hottest property right now in Hollywood. Part 1, entitled "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is currently being re-made into American films by David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network) and is set to star Daniel Craig (James Bond) in the role of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, and Rooney Mara in the much coveted role of Lisbeth Salander. The first in these American remakes are set to be released in December of 2011.
The Swedish Trilogy. But before all of this, there was the original Swedish film trilogy starring Nyqvist and Rapace. If you missed them, you can read my reviews of parts 1 and 2, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and The Girl Who Played With Fire. The first film is quite good and most notable for the breakout performance of Noomi Rapace, who makes Lisbeth Salander into one of the year's most memorable female characters. The 2nd film I found to be not nearly as good, an overall disappointment created from the anticipation I felt after watching the first one. For (nearly) the entire film, the two main characters were kept separate, and the scenes with both of them in it I felt were the strengths of the first film. Even feeling let-down, the movie was good enough to keep me waiting for the third installment...
...and the third installment is by far the worst of the three movies, an utter collapse of what I once thought could have been an intriguing trilogy.
The Plot. Lisbeth, wounded in the previous film's climactic scene, lies in critical condition with a bullet wound to the head. She may not recover, and she may not want to recover either...upon waking she would be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for 3 murders. With help from her trusted friend Mikael Blomkvist, she not only has to prove her innocence, but try to bring to light the corrupted individuals behind the whole mess.
Bed-ridden. I must be missing something in the relationship between Blomkvist and Salander. There is a deliberate separation of the two characters, and I believe we are meant to feel this bond between them, even though space separates them. As I criticized in the 2nd installment, there was not enough screen time between the two to make for an interesting movie or character dynamic. Sadly, the 3rd film follows suit almost completely. To make matters worse, Salander spends almost 3/4 of the movie in a hospital bed. For the first time in the trilogy, I imagined that this movie was the least translatable to the big-screen...there is just not enough to go around and make for an interesting ride.
I Feel Your Pain. The first film had such a broad and compelling cast of characters, it was very interesting to see the story unravel clue by clue. In part 2, the villain was a bit over the top, but had some believable elements. In Hornet's Nest, the bad guy is a very large brute who does not feel pain. How do we know he's a bad guy? Because we have small scene after scene of him doing bad things, just because. He doesn't only steal a car, he throws the lady out on the street. If this was a TV series, I would say that this 3rd movie feels like the season near the end where the creators ran out of energy and creative juice. Because we don't care about the villains behind some of the messes, we tend to not care about Blomkvist and Salander's journey.
Performances. Most disappointing of all, is that the character of Lisbeth Salander began to wear on me in this film. Rapace's performance in Dragon Tattoo may earn her some much deserved awards later in the year, but her performances increasingly become one-note and lacking. Not completely her fault, there's only so much an actress can bring to the table when most of her scenes are from a hospital bed.
Anti-climactic ending. The only thing that kept me going through this movie, literally, was knowing that somehow, someway the trilogy had to end with Blomkvist and Salander reuniting. Without giving anything away, let me just say that it was one big enormous let-down. I must have clearly missed something along the way, as their relationship seems needing to be distant. But when you follow characters through 3 movies, there needs to be a satisfying conclusion...not necessarily a happy ending, just satisfying. I was more satisfied when the Sopranos cut to black than I was watching the story of Lisbeth Salander come to a close.
Final Thoughts. The American version faces a huge challenge in re-casting the role of Lisbeth Salander. Noomi Rapace for me, is Lisbeth and it is hard to imagine the character not being portrayed by her. But the re-makes face a larger challenge if they are to succeed, and that is they will have to find a way to portray the 2nd and 3rd movies in a stronger way. I've not read the books and don't know how closely the Swedish movies stayed to the story, but I do know that they do not translate well as done in Swedish hands.
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