“Girl Who Played With Fire” Plays With Our Reading Habits
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Okay, I got hooked. Like millions of readers around the world, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the three-part Millennium series. In America, we know these Swedish thrillers by the late Stieg Larsson as “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”
Great reads. Two fascinating characters, a weary middle-aged magazine publisher and a weird Goth hacker chick. Together (and apart) they take on serial killers, sadists, Russian defectors, and a monolithic giant who feels no pain. Not to mention, factions of the Swedish secret service.
I know people who ordered the books from Europe, before the US publication date, because they just couldn’t wait. And I have friends who’ve stayed up all night because they just couldn’t put the book down.
And no, I couldn’t wait to see the movie versions. The first film was directed by Niels Arden Oplev, the last two by Daniel Alfredson. (Using the same director on the last two seems right to me, for the last two books are actually one long story chopped in half.)
I liked the film version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” (it’s been back for a second round at the Tropic Cinema here in Key West). The casting of Michael Nyqvist as the journalist and Noomi Rapace as the tattooed girl of the title were perfect, exactly as I’d pictured them in my mind. And the story that unfolded in the wintry Swedish countryside and spilled over to the steaming Australian Outback was true enough to the book.
So as the release date for the second of the three films approached, I began pestering Scot Hoard (the unsung genius who does the bookings for the Tropic) to schedule “The Girl Who Played With Fire.”
It opened on Friday.
And here’s the good part. I couldn’t wait, so I pestered Scot to get me a screener copy that I could watch in advance. And he did. And I stayed up late at night to watch it, because I just couldn’t wait.
In “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” Mikael Blomkvist (again played by Michael Nyqvist) and Lisbeth Salander (also played by Noomi Rapace) face motorcycle gangs and her evil birth father and that muscle-bound giant … and the police, who have evidence that she killed two of Blomkvist’s colleagues.
“The Girl Who Played with Fire” (the title has a double meaning) is like watching the book in your head as you read it, a faithful adaptation, a tad streamlined to fit it within a movie’s timeframe, but true enough to the book. That said, it helps if you’re read the first two books to get the full understanding of the film.
The third movie will likely be released in the U.S. later this year. And I can’t wait.
For those who don’t like subtitles, an American remake is scheduled to be released in late 2011 … if you can wait. Starring Daniel Craig (“Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace”) and possibly Carey Mulligan (“An Education,” “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”), it will be a slicker Hollywood production with a bigger budget. I’m not sure why they bother. The first two of the Swedish-made trilogy are spot-on, little in need of a re-do. And the third is sure to live up also.
So how do we get more of the real deal, with author Stieg Larsson dead of a heart attack and no more books in sight (although his live-in girlfriend claims there was a fourth book in his computer, the beginning and ending with no middle written)?
Well, I’ve just discovered that Michael Nygvist and Noomi Rapace have thus far appeared in six episodes of a Swedish television series called “Millennium.” Can it be ….?
[from Solares Hil]