The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Bad Luck Everywhere

Naturally, reviewing a series leads me to part two in the Millenium Series, or commonly known as the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. This is the 2009 Swedish version of the three films, which all came out the same year versus our Hollywoodized version that still hasn’t released a single sequel. Like before, I am reviewing the English-dubbed version of the film, because reading a movie hurts my eyes. Now I’ve seen the first film about three times now, but never the sequels, so I was interested in seeing what else was in store for troubled hacker, Lisbeth Salander. I guess we turn to The Girl Who Played with Fire for answers.

Back at Millenium headquarters, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) has the new hire write an article on a sex trafficking ring. Little does he know, this writer will soon be digging too deep, as he and his girlfriend are found dead in their apartment. Also dead is Lisbeth’s pig-of-a-parole officer, and all evidence clearly points to Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) as the culprit. The police are convinced she did it, but Blomkvist knows her too well to readily accept she killed anyone in cold blood. So while the police look for her, as does he, but more along the lines for asylum and clearing her name.

Like the first film, this was a whodunit, but done very differently than the first time around. I believe the differences are what ultimately hurt the film in the long run. First things first; Mikael and Lisbeth are not working together in this film. Their chemistry the first time around was amazing, and to not see them working together was kind of disappointing. Next; this is a current case, not a cold case that police have long given up on like the first. It’s nice to have change, but there’s just something about a current case that bugs me. This one is pretty big, we already know the answer to the whodunit is a man named “Zala”, but the investigation continues solely to link Zala to the murders, clearing Lisbeth’s name. It’s just not much of a surprise or thrill to already know the answer to the beginning question. Sure, there are twists and turns in the movie, but it just wasn’t as impressive as the first.

Part of that reason is because I saw this movie as interesting, just not as enthralling or unique as the first movie. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo somehow managed to feel like it fit into its title, I don’t know how else to explain it but that. It just felt right, and had one heck of an entertaining story. While this one was alright, I didn’t feel as if it was very unique or really even mattered very much.

I will say this, the theme is consistent. It is, and always has been, about the mistreatment of women, and somehow they managed to raise the level in The Girl Who Played with Fire. You really do still care about Lisbeth’s character, maybe even more so than last time. I mean, holy cow, I mean, her luck cannot possibly get any worse. Maybe I spoke too soon, but the theme is admirable, and it’s one of the only times when I agree and say – yes, women power, kick his teeth in. How can you not when you are convinced so well by a film that the male race is rotten? That’s coming from a guy that knows what it’s like from the other side, so that’s saying a lot.

Obviously, the title is The Girl Who Played with Fire, and in the last film, we got a taste of what that could mean. When she was a girl, she set her dad on fire in a car, so that had some importance this time around. I won’t say how though. I don’t recall this film having any kind of glimpse into what the Hornet’s Wasp could be though, I’ll be interested in checking that out soon.


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