The first half is a repost of my reviews of the first two movies, with an addition now that I've finished the Trilogy
I feel like I've discussed this series a lot with quite a few different movie geeks, and I haven't actually written a review of anything. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire are the first two films based on books in The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larrson. The third Swedish film was just released in theaters here in the States (though I'll have to wait until Netflix gets it). The first two movies are intense drama/thrillers with many murders and violence thrown in. They're definitely some of the best story-telling to have come out recently.
Noomi Rapace plays Lisbeth Salander, a petite bad ass computer hacker who had an epically terrible childhood. She's required to check in with a "Guardian" (kind of like a probation officer here in the States), and when her former Guardian has a stroke, she's stuck with a terrible guy who does unspeakable things to her (one of the most violent scenes on screen I've ever seen). She does get her revenge, thankfully. But you can't unring a bell. So that's the understory. The overarching story involves Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has been found guilty of libeling a megamogul. Since he's heading for jail, he gets hired by a wealthy guy, Martin Vanger, to investigate a family mystery - the disappearance of his niece. Salander and Blomkvist cross paths after she investigates him for Vanger before he hires him.
Salander hacks into Blomkvist's computer and watches as he tries to find the niece. Eventually, she has to join him to try to find the truth. Again, they find some unbearably disgusting facts from decades ago and the whole mystery does get solved, but man is it way out in left field. At the end, Salander does her computer genius thing to prove that the megamogul actually did the things Blomkvist said he did, clearing him. She steals a ton of the guy's money -secretly of course. And this leads us to the next film. Brilliant first entry - amazing acting by Rapace, and terrific thriller action sequences. Once I got around the extremely violent scene, it's a wonderful movie all around. 5 of 5 stars/lambs
|Blomkvist coming to the rescue, but Salander has it in hand|
And finally, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - finally available on Netflix streaming. This film picks up almost exactly where the previous one left off - Salander is in the hospital after the brutal attack by her half-brother and father. Oh, and her dad is in the hospital too and Lisbeth is charged with trying to kill him. The movie follows Salander trying to figure out how to defend herself and prove she's not crazy and must not be committed again. The psychiatrist who originally locked her up and molested her has shown up for the prosecution. And Blomkvist and his colleagues at the magazine Millenium have decided to expose all of Salander's story and its bad guys - from her father all the way up to the government conspiracy that sent her to the mental institution and want to keep her there. Thankfully, Blomkvist is still willing to risk his life (and his friends) to save Lisbeth - and his interest is somehow still not creepy.
I think I liked this movie the best of the trilogy. The violence was much more toned down - if nailing someone's feet to the floor so they can't chase you can be considered toned down. Now that we finally know all of the details of Lisbeth's story, she becomes an even more remarkable character, and watching her soften just a bit to related to Blomkvist as a friend and his sister as he attorney, her bad-ass-ness is amazing. The complexity of the story builds really well on both the first and second movies in the trilogy, and really should be viewed as a group - at least as much as the Star Wars films. If you gave the first one a shot, definitely finish the series - it's absolutely worth it. 5 of 5 stars/lambs.