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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest: Movie Review

Genre: Thriller
Rated: R
Directed by: Daniel Alfredson
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Jacob Ericksson
Released by: Sony Pictures

In Short: The final film in the smash hit Swedish “Girl” trilogy wraps up the incredible Stieg Larsson tale of Lisbeth Salander with panache.

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Final Trilogy Installment Does Books Proud

If you haven’t already read Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster “Girl” trilogy, you might want to run out and get the best-selling books, pronto. If you already read the Swedish author’s tale of Lisbeth Salander, then hopefully you have also seen the first two fine Swedish films that follow her incredible story. The subtitled “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played with Fire” have already been released in the United States, both featuring the same cast as “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” This, the third and last installment, is also subtitled, but you won’t even notice that as the drama unfolds.

Noomi Rapace stars as Lisbeth, the tiny computer genius whose life has been a horror show since she was born. As “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” begins, the 27-year-old is having a bullet pulled from her brain, the one the Russian defector Zalachenko shot into her head at the end of the previous film. He just happens to be her father, and the key element to the conspiracy that has tried to ruin her life. But Lisbeth is a survivor, and even riddled with bullets and an arrest warrant waiting for her, she cannot be broken.

Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Michael Nyqvist in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Hers is a complicated story (and one that justifiably fills three books). Without giving away too much of the plot, suffice it to say that there are nefarious government forces trying to keep her quiet about what her father has done, while at the same time there are people, friends of a sort, who are trying to help her to stay our of jail and tell her story to the world. One of the key players continues to be Mikael Blomkvist, the handsome journalist who has been part of Salander’s story since the first installment. But there are plenty of new and interesting characters, and as the film unspools we begin to love — and fear — some of the key players. It’s a fascinating finale to the trilogy, despite being a somewhat truncated version of the novel.

Larsson’s books have become a huge worldwide success, which sadly the author never enjoyed. He died at the age of 50 of a heart attack before the publication of his first “Girl” novel. He’d surely be proud to know that three of his books were made into films and that a Hollywood version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is in the works right now, starring Daniel Craig and newcomer Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. But for now, audiences who love his tough, emotionally distanced heroine can check out these well-made Swedish movies. The first two are available on DVD; watch them both at home, then hit the theater for the last fascinating installment.


Reviewed by Jenny Peters


(Updated: 10/29/10 CT)

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