Rated R for brutal violence including a rape, some strong sexual content, nudity and language.
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
Written by Jonas Frykberg, Stieg Larsson
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Yasmine Garbi, Micke Spreitz, Paolo Roberto, Peter Andersson
When I went to my local theater to see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo I must admit that I was not familiar with the trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson. A friend had recommended that I see this movie and that is the sole reason that I decided to go. Ever since seeing the first film in the series I have been sucked into this world of mystery and suspense with Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. I still have yet to read the books to compare and contrast the films but was definitely eager to watch The Girl Who Played With Fire.
The second film picks up soon after where the first film has left off. Our heroine, computer hacker Lisbeth Salander returns to Sweden after traveling the world and becomes involved in the Mikael Blomkvist’s current investigation of a sex trafficking ring. Situations unfold that cause Lisbeth to be accused of multiple murders and she is forced to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name and solve the case.
What makes these films for me is the cast. Noomi Rapace truly embodies the character of Lisbeth. Her real life persona is much different than her character. She actually changed her looks to play this role, learned to ride motorcycles and kick box to actually do all of her own action sequences. She changed her appearance and became Lisbeth. She is a very powerful female character, just as Stieg Larsson wanted her. I think he would be proud of the casting job for the films with Noomi in the role. She exudes confidences and freedom and is troubled by her inner demons but that is what makes Lisbeth so real and believable. Some consider her to be a lesbian, but I do not. She is such a free soul that she has sex with both men and women, her sexuality being fluid.
Michael Nyqvist is well cast as Blomkvist as well. I like his passion for exposing the truth no matter what that means to his safety. Yes it is a little careless but his motives are pure in my mind. I like the way that he and Lisbeth play off of one another in the films. They are connected mentally it seems because they are always one step away from each other and are there to help each other when they need it most.
The story is very suspenseful of course, but the music used for this film and the first film is very ominous and definitely does a great job of setting the tone for specific scenes. I like that the music used was very similar for both at setting the tone. There are some definite differences though. The Girl Who Played With Fire has a different feel in some aspects. My thoughts are that it is a different director and his style of filming is different as well as the budget likely has increased on the second and third films due to their success. This film seems to be much crisper and better shot because of the lighting. The first film was very dark not only in story but in the manner it was shot. It is a little hard to tell though because the theater I saw both films in is an art house cinema and is in disrepair in comparison to the local AMC Theaters.
Make sure you see The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It is currently available at so many places you should have no trouble renting it or watching on instant streaming from Netflix. Either way see that movie immediately and then see The Girl Who Played With Fire. If you have to travel a distance to see this film at a town nearby, trust me it will be worth the drive. If it is not playing anywhere near you then this is a great reason to start lobbying for more foreign and independent films to play in your area.
The Bottom Line:
If you are looking for a movie that will have you on the edge of your seat because of the suspense then this is the film for you. You will be rooting for Lisbeth and Blomkvist and will care about them as characters. I think the flow of the film is very enjoyable and will leave you craving more. This is one of the best foreign films that I have seen aside from Let The Right One In. Funny how there are currently remakes being made for both of these films in America. This is a great example of how great a sequel can be.