Sunday, 6 November 2011


“Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.” - Samuel Johnson

We watched the third and final part of the Millennium Trilogy, comprising three movies based on the Stieg Larsson novels. This was the 2009 Daniel Alfredson film, “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”. This was a long film, running at just under 150 minutes and having relatively less action and less nail-biting sequences than the previous two (see my reviews: “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”). This film was taken at more relaxed pace and there was a lot more explaining and tying up of loose ends that had been left dangling from the previous two movies.

The same cast makes its return and the level of acting and production were good, although I must say that I was a little disappointed with the quality of the image in several scenes here and there (we were watching a BluRay disc). The film is a worthy conclusion to this trilogy, however, and to get the full effect one must watch the three movies in rapid succession, possibly over three nights. I don’t think I could bear to watch all of them on the same day! They are tough going, quite violent and confronting films. However, they are all closely tied to one another and one must watch them in close sequence to truly understand what is going on.

The plot picks up where the previous film left off: Lisbeth has been shot in the head and while being treated in hospital, she is under close supervision. As she recovers, She is set to face trial for attempted murder. With the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his researchers at Millennium magazine, Lisbeth must prove her innocence and sanity. Powerful political enemies, conspirators on a governmental level, spies as well as Lisbeth’s ghosts from her own tormented past, surface and threaten not only Lisbeth’s life but also that of her friends.

One needs to concentrate when watching this film as the explanations of what motivated Libeth’s adversaries are convoluted and not always stated obviously (so could be missed!). The critics disliked this movie and they compared it unfavourably with what they considered was the best of the three films, the first one. However, I found this movie a worthy conclusion to the trilogy and once we started watching it, we were hooked. The courtroom drama that takes place in the latter half of the movie is extremely well done and one cannot help but become involved with Lisbeth who has been very much the victim of such a huge conspiracy, as well as suffering abuse from a number of perverted individuals.

Watching this series of films one cannot but be overawed by the brutality of one human against another, especially the crimes committed by the powerful on the powerless. The catastrophic consequences of such monstrous actions on the lives of those affected by such treatments are explored by Larsson and through his clinical exposé of society’s indifference to many such crimes and criminals, he rings alarm bells wishing to rouse us from our apathy. By superimposing one terrible act upon another, a violent image after another, one atrocity followed by a worse one, he challenges our detachment as observers and encourages our basic humanity, urging us to react and become personally involved. These terrible acts must be prevented from occurring by active intervention, just of the kind that Lisbeth’s champion Mikael engages in.

Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth was perfect casting for the role and by far the best actress in all three films. She brought the character of a damaged woman to life and we could feel her pain as we came to understand how deeply the scars of the damage had disrupted her whole consciousness. Although she looked fearsome and feral –someone you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark alley, she was also vulnerable and her suffering was palpable in many scenes. This diamond hard exterior hiding a gooey soft internal world was amazingly well-portrayed.  A fine actress indeed! The remainder of the cast does an excellent job also, but these are Noomi’s films.

The whole trilogy is gritty, horrific, violent, realistic (unfortunately!) and extremely challenging. These are not films to watch and be entertained by, to pass the time with, but rather they are there to make us think and to challenge the status quo of our politics, our social and cultural norms, our values and personal responsibilities. Well worth investing the time in watching all three of these!

1 comment:

  1. This was an excellent movie trilogy, although quite challenging viewing as you say in your reviews, Nicholas. I am half way through reading the novels and they are so much better than the movies (of course!).