The book The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets’ Nest was an incredible end to a groundbreaking trilogy. It was fueled by intrigue, suspense and explicit character development. No corner was left unswept; each story line intricately concluded in a lengthy finale that never failed to impress. Yet the question remains; does Daniel Alfredson’s screen adaptation live up to Larsson’s exquisite conclusion? The answer is simply; as best it could.
What’s the plot?
Salander is awaiting trial from Sahlgrenksa hospital. Her father is residing in a room nearby. As she is powerless to salvage herself from the persistent corruption dogging her existence, Blomkvist is eagerly compiling the evidence needed to bring her perpetrators to justice. The small Millennium staff are equally facing threats from a series of stalkers who have tapped their phone lines and stolen their resources.
Annika, Blomkvist’s sister, is bravely taking Lisbeth’s case to court. Experienced in cases of women’s rights, Annika doubts her ability as a criminal lawyer. With the prosecution seemingly doused in irrefutable evidence, the defense faces an almost impossible task in proving Lisbeth’s innocence. Their hope rides largely on Salander’s decision to release the footage of Bjurman’s assault.
Film versus book
Films seldom live up to the high standards of a previously published book telling the same story. Yet the preceding movies within this franchise were highly engaging and exciting. Though they omitted large subplots, such as the detailed relationship between Blomkvist and Berger, they maintained admirably the vision of Larsson’s novels.
The Hornets’ Nest as a book is ambitious. It incorporates a variety of characters and at times, risks bombarding the reader with names. However, much like undertaking another language, the reader soon gets used to this format. In the movie, however, the same dedication of time to significant characters cannot be given for obvious reasons. In this way, it fails to engross audiences the way its predecessors did.
There are simply too many important characters who are given faint voices in the narrative. Their roles become confusing, as it is difficult to decipher one old guy from another. If one has not read the book, they risk total submergence in puzzlement.
As ever, Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist are outstanding as the lead protagonists. In fact, the entire cast is flawless, with a notable performance from Annika Hallin who plays Giannini. Rapace sincerely delivers a unique character in Salander. As one would imagine Larsson intended her to be; Rapace’s Salander is ambiguous, dark, and ultimately endearing.
There are few well fleshed heroines in fiction, with Lisbeth almost akin to a far more solemn Buffy Summers; Salander is quietly witty, always intelligent and undoubtedly creditable. Unlike Summers, she is also operating in reality; a place where this sort of corruption is not unfounded.
Similarly Nyqvist plays a believable Blomkvist. He is handsome, charming and courageous. Typical of Larsson’s characters, he is also flawed. These flaws are, in many ways, what bring such depth to Larsson’s creations. While the book exploits Blomkvist’s promiscuous nature, the film relies more on his workaholic approach to existence. In this sense, the film doesn’t quite do his character justice. On the other hand, Nyqvist’s portrayal is so likable it hardly matters.
For anyone who has watched the previous movies, the third piece to the trilogy is a must. Like the book, it doesn’t have the same action and adventure of the preludes. It sticks as close to Larsson’s narrative as possible, while incorporating slight variations most likely in an attempt to maintain the viewer’s interest. It will be difficult to follow for anyone who hasn’t read the books, though perhaps an incentive for them to pick up Larsson’s masterpiece.
The real tragedy however, is that this movie franchise will likely be overlooked by Academy Awards, and remade instead, by a massive American budget. Don’t miss it. It’s free to watch at 123movies.
Star Rating: 3.5/5
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