The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

After the flat in-betweener that was The Girl Who Played with Fire, the final installment of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy bounces back with terrific aplomb to close out the series. Not quite as brilliant as the fast-paced whodunit that was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but still, not bad.Yet again, Noomi Rapace as the brooding lesbo-goth Lisbeth Salander steals the show with her sparkling on-screen presence. This finale picks up immediately where the last one ended; opening with Salander being airlifted to safety with a bullet lodged in her head. Her co-star, the now familiar Michael Nyqvist (he’s superb yet again here), plays the stoic and determined journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who has to fight the odds to clear Salander’s besmirched name by thwarting the villains who have set up the incapacitated heroine with a slew of false charges. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Stieg Larsson film if it didn’t come armed with a multi-dimensional plot rife with messy tangles of deceit, treachery and suspense—and this one has them by the wagonload.The characters demand our attention throughout. We’re fascinated by the evil intents, deeds and motives of the wretched villains even as we egg on Blomkvist to deliver their comeuppance. And a couple of new characters (welcome additions, we have to say) are woven in to supply the requisite nails in the baddies’ coffins. Though the film’s pace isn’t as scintillating as that of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, its momentum—with mesmeric score in tow—is excellent; its twists and turns parallel Rapace’s own trajectory, as she recovers from being a bedridden patient to reestablish herself once more as the best angst-ridden punk hacker in town. Hell, there’s even time over a mini makeover—with a Mohawk and all. And final props go to director Daniel Alfredson, who adroitly stitches the subplots and characters of the three movies together in a smart and ultimately satisfying climax. Now let’s just hope Hollywood doesn’t f**k this particular franchise up with their remakes.