Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Rhoades)

“Girl Who Kicked Hornet’s Nest” Continues Story
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

May as well admit it. I’ve never had the attention span for epic movies or television miniseries or books that weigh more than three pounds. That’s why I’m glad the late Steig Larsson divided his singular tale of a crusading Swedish journalist and a weirdo computer hacker into three volumes – “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.”

These books are known as the Millennium Trilogy, that being the name of the fictional magazine that middle-aged crusader Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) publishes. His partner in solving crimes is a petite punker chick, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). As the title of the first book implies, she has a large dragon tattooed on her back, not to mention spiky hair, purple lipstick, and various body piercings.

This unlikely duo makes a great team when it comes to bringing down evil financial empires, serial killers, and rogue Russian spies. Not exactly Nick and Nora Charles, but you get the idea.

So why am I talking about books in a movie column? Because the third film based on these thrillers is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.

You’ve probably read all three books. Some 40 million people worldwide have. But
here’s a case where the faithful (though slightly abridged) films are almost as satisfying as the ink-on-paper originals. A great way to see the characters come to life.

In the first two books (as well as the subtitled Swedish film adaptations) we met disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist who had been hired to find the truth behind a missing girl.

And by joining forces with antisocial computer genius Lisbeth Salander, he indeed solves the crime. Lisbeth walks away with a fortune hacked from a bad guy’s bank account and Mikael walks away with his reputation restored.

Then along comes a series of murders in the second book/film, all evidence pointing toward Lisbeth. Mikael’s quest to prove her innocence turns up biker gangs, a giant who feels no pain, and the girl’s evil-but-absent father. At the end of the second book, Lisbeth nabs dear ol’ dad, but not before he shoots her in the head.
The third book – and movie – proceeds without pause, our girl Lisbeth in the hospital under police custody while loyal Mikael conspires to prove her innocence.

The Swedish title for the original volume was “Män som hatar kvinnor” (translation: Men Who Hate Women.”) And throughout the series our girl Lisbeth is raped, beaten, shot in the head, even buried alive. So you can clearly see the theme of violence against women.

Larsson was disgusted by it, having helplessly witnessed the gang rape of a young girl. Turns out, her name was Lisbeth.

What we like about our fictional heroine is that she fights back, taking down her enemies without pause or remorse, giving no quarter. Emotionally satisfying.
However, Lisbeth Salander remains sidelined for much of this third installment, recuperating in the hospital, going on trial, leaving Mikael Blomkvist to do the footwork. Yet in the end Lisbeth faces off with the genetically mutated giant and all the loose ends come together. But likely you already know that from reading the books.

Yes, you will definitely want to see “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” especially if you’ve read the books. But it’s a pretty good ride even if you haven’t.

Then you can start the series all over again with next year’s Hollywood remake, this time starring Daniel Craig (007 in the James Bond movies) and Rooney Mara (the girlfriend who got away in “The Social Network”) as Blomkvist and Salander. It promises to hold my attention.
[from Solares Hill]

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