The Girl Who Played With Fire Review

With The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Niels Arden Oplev made a satisfying adaptation of the most beloved books in the world and brought one of the most iconic heroines to the big screen.  Now with a different director onboard (Daniel Alfredson), the cinematic version of the Millennium Trilogy continues with The Girl Who Played With Fire

            The Girl Who Played With Fire follows Lisbeth Salander’s continuing adventures as she is framed for the murder of a journalist, who is working on a sex trade expose, and her guardian, whom she was blackmailing for raping her (all of which occurred in the first film).  As Lisbeth goes out to get to the bottom of the murders and clear her name, so too does Lisbeth’s former fling, Michael Blomkvist (whom Lisbeth has dropped all contact with).  As the two get closer to the culprit, more and more about Lisbeth’s past is revealed.

            Daniel Alfredson does a valiant effort in taking over for Niels Arden Oplev.  Even if Alfredson cannot completely carry over the intensity of the first film for this sequel, he is still able to bring a unique atmosphere to it.  Here you find an almost Bond-like action movie compared to the dark noir atmosphere the first film brought.

            Maybe due to the fact that the source material of The Girl Who Played With Fire is weaker to that of the first book (I have not personally read the trilogy), the script does not come across as strong as that of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  There are a few problems with it.  The ending, for instance, comes across as an attempt to go out blockbuster style instead of focusing on what make the characters interesting in the first place.

            The cast is overall very strong.  Noomi Rapace continues to do wonders in the role of Lisbeth Salander.  Her work here is on par with her exceptional work on the first film.  At this point I don’t know how Rooney Mara can top it in the American remake.  Michael Nyqvist is once again great, but his role is greatly reduced from the first film.  Out of the supporting cast Georgi Staykov comes across the strongest as the film’s main villain.

            The behind the scene work is nothing special.  The cinematography, editing and score are as good as any of the work done on a blockbuster from the United States.  The costume and makeup work, however, do continue to be interesting for Lisbeth Salander.  Makeup work is strong on another certain character (readers of the book will know who I am referring to).

            All in all, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a worthy addition to the cinematic version of The Millennium Trilogy.  What has interested me most so far about this series is that it, in my mind, appears to be the most easily consumable non-English language film for main stream audiences.  The film follows a larger than life character and is almost a run of the mill detective story.  With this in mind, I am disappointed about the upcoming American remake as most people will just take the approach of “why should I watch a film in subtitles if I can just wait a year to watch the English version?”.


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