The Girl Who Played With Fire is the much anticipated sequel to last year's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and the second part of the film adaptations of the late Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.
As with the previous film, Noomi Rapace returns as the heroine Lisbeth Salander and Micheal Nyqvist returns as crusading journalist, Mikael Blommvist.
This film comes with two problems, it’s the middle part of a trilogy and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo preceded it. As anyone who has seen the first film will know it came as a new kind of thriller: fresh and shocking in which complex family secrets were combined with the trappings of a fast paced crime story. That with the strange pairing of the ‘feral’ computer hacker, Lisbeth Slanader, and the middle aged journalist, Mikael Blommvist, made it the crime thriller of the year.
The Girl Who Played With Fire unfortunately doesn’t live up to the first part of the trilogy. The plot is of a more mundane type, the sort of plot you would get in a cop show of the 70’s or 80’s. It has revelations, like the first, but they are more of a soap opera kind. As an added measure an almost ‘Bond’ type henchman is thrown in the works. In fact the ‘Bond’ type set pieces are all through the film, even down to the main villain (he needs a white cat mind you).
As it is the middle part of a trilogy the ending is abrupt and has that ‘to be continued’ feeling tacked on at the end. So unlike The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo it cannot be seen as a standalone film.
On the positive side the film moves at a good pace and the central characters, Lisbeth and Mikael, are the main reasons to bide your time whilst waiting for the final part of the trilogy to be released. It is their touching relationship, one of absolute trust that makes us care about what happens to them and the forces they are confronting, in this case sex traffickers and corrupt police.
Still a disappointing middle section, we will have to wait for The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest sometime later this year to see if the early promise of the first film makes a comeback and the fire of that brilliant debut returns.