The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Film, Thrillers
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The title of this closing chapter to the trio of film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy of rum conspiracy thrillers implies that we should brace ourselves for a manic, two-and-a-half-hour dust-up. Yes, we’ll surely see svelte punk sleuth Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) swinging her studded leather boot towards the nether regions of any pervert in frameless glasses or tweed-clad secret agent who enters her eyeline.

Alas, the grim reality is that we get to look on as our titular firecracker is confined to a hospital bed for hour one, then sent to prison for hour two, before being allowed a cursory run around an abandoned factory with a nail gun for a cheap, concluding coda.

But what of her death-defying paramour and guardian, Mikael ‘Mika’ Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist)? He wins the inauguaral prize for clumsily romantic screen depictions of journalists (pipping Julia Roberts in ‘Eat Pray Love’ to the post), as he splits his time between bashing keys on his omnipresent MacBook, bellowing exposition down the phone and darting around town having fist-fights with Serbian mercenaries.

This is by far the weakest episode in the series, not only because its sole function is tortuously to address and explain all the loose ends from the previous two, but because it does so in the most lazy, artless manner possible: the actors may as well have been sat in a wing-back chair in front of a black backdrop and allowed to recite passages from the book to camera. A more apt title would be ‘The Girl Who Sat Quietly in a Dimly Lit Room’.

By: David Jenkins


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday November 26 2010
Duration: 147 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Screenwriter: Jonas Frykberg
Cast: Michael Nyqvist
Noomi Rapace
Lena Endre
Annika Hallin
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I saw this on DVD last week. I'd read the first book and loved it as I did the first film. But the second book was dreadful and I couldn't actually face the third book - after the second one I didn't really care what happened to the characters! Anyway, I can't comment on how closely the third film resembled the book, but it was pretty similar in tone to the second film, I thought. The feeling I got was that the first Larsson book seemed to be a complete work on its own - a proper whodunnit thriller, with some absolutely chilling and compelling twists, and in which the central characters are interesting in the roles they play. The second and third installments, however seem disconnected from the first, and it's the second two movies that seem to be two halfs of the one film - a bit like the second two Pirates of the Carribbean movies! Anyway, I actually agree with the reviewer here.

@David J ... Yawn. Though not the finest, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" wasn't short on action, and follows hot on the climax of the previous film, where Lisbeth is buried alive by her half-brother after sustaining serious head injuries. She's hardly going to be leaping about after major brain trauma, is she? Really. Were you asleep? Most likely. As for the TO comment about Lisbeth sitting in a dimly lit room, that was one shot, of about 20 seconds in a film of 2.5hrs, so the comment is well out of context. She spends a great deal of time on her own as she has Asperger's Syndrome, though clearly not "mild". If I owned an apartment with that kind of view, I'd spend a good deal more time than 20 seconds having a fag looking out the window. . No, The Headless Woman isn't a "masterpiece". It's was dreadful, as born out by the audience reviews here on Time Out. As for other reviewers' opinions, I'll leave you with this extract from another site ... "Argentine director Lucrecia Martel's new picture, 'The Headless Woman,' has received largely negative reviews, and its press premiere was greeted with boos and catcalls." There's a surprise!

@Mike Using the fact that a character has Asperger Syndrome to justify why a film is almost entirely dramatically inert is kind of damning it with faint praise, don't you think? And besides, if the film was intended in any way as a genuine portrait of an Asperger sufferer, why would it be so insensitive and lazy to barely mention the fact (in the detail of the script or the performance)? On the evidence of the first film and (to a lesser extent) the second, Salander felt like a remarkably taciturn and mysterious presence, but here she appears to have been butted aside so the filmmakers can milk a back-story that only becomes more nonsensical the longer we’re forced to look at it. And The Headless Woman is a masterpiece.

Your reviewer didnt get it. The film was a perfect compliment to the first two. If you only want action, action, action watch some US rubbish.

Your reviewer didnt get it. The film was a perfect compliment to the first two. If you only want action, action, action watch some US rubbish.

While this is clearly the least well-made of the three films, it does reach an immensely satisfying conclusion. It should go without saying that you should not go to see this film unless you enjoyed the first two. You will not understand it. For those who enjoyed the first two, it reaches the right emotional ending for our "happy couple". I hope there will be no more. The idea of Lisbeth in a more stable relationship is unbearable. Any mystery someone dreams up for them to investigate will lack the emotional quality given by the Lisbeth's backstory. I have a more detailed review here:

Clearly, being familiar with the previous two films helps a lot with the storyline of this third and final film. I've also read the book, so was interested to see how the final part of the story was interpreted. I think this film's very good, and clearly shares the same previous cast, so it's very well-acted. Despite having to pack so much in from the 3rd book, this film's well-scripted as well. Sure, there will be those who see this 3rd film, not having seen the previous 2, and it probably won't make much sense. Either you "get" Lisbeth or you don't. I think this film's worth 4 stars. I'll definitely see it again - I thought the time went flying by. (As for David Jenkins/Time Out's review of this film, I had to remind myself he's the critic who rated the film "The Headless Woman" as 5 stars - something the audience reviews clearly disagreed with - search for "headless" in the Time Out film search field above to see what I mean.)