Stieg Larsson’s trilogy concludes with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009), and while it’s perhaps the least satisfying individual “film” (more on that below), it does cap off this memorable series effectively.
The explosive events of The Girl Who Played with Fire left Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) bruised, battered, and in policy custody, still facing trial for her supposed crimes. Her actions have also stirred up a secret government organization, who still see her as a threat and are maneuvering to have her silenced. Meanwhile, the team at Millennium — urged on by reporter Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyquist) — works tirelessly to prepare an issue devoted to Lisbeth’s story, and supporting her innocence. This adds the magazine to the conspiracy’s hitlist, and entangles Blomqvist with a law enforcement task force working to shut down the group Lisbeth has exposed.
Rapace and Nyquist again anchor an effective cast, in a story that builds organically on the earlier events. Like the other movies, I found it disorganized as a self-contained film, but the structural decisions make a lot more sense to me now that I know it was originally a six-episode TV series that was recut for theatrical release. (Thanks, Dad! Next time I’ll do my homework.) As such, it worked as the conclusion of an ongoing saga, particularly as it pertains to Lisbeth’s tragic history, and to the long-distance romance between its star-crossed-and-separated heroes. If I rewatch this someday, I’ll probably watch the extended cut, which is evidently the official version, in this case. I suspect that will obviate many of the problems I had with the earlier parts of the story. Oh well, live and learn!