The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest


At the end of it all, that is a question that is not satisfactorily explained in the third and concluding part of the Millennium trilogy - The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Without giving away the plot, here is the problem. The reason for a series of errors in judgement by a top secret government agency, is typically linked to a shady past. Something so unspeakable done in past, that must be protected at all costs. And each failed attempt at protecting the secret turns out more damming than before leading to a rapidly escalating series of actions. But, to support it all there must be that kernel of unbelievable secret at its core that must necessitate the first response.

The movie never makes it clear. There are some utterances of a secret, but in no way does that secret seem remotely commensurate with the heavy handed approach of making an enemy of Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). True, the acts that follow are despicable, but the original reason for attempting to isolate Lisbeth seem silly, juvenile.

Unfortunately that is what you keep thinking about throughout the movie. And when you do not get a satisfactory response from the screenplay, the movie seems overwrought and fake. The dramatic score for the bad guys, sounds spoofy. And the editing does not help. There camera lingers around for too long after the end of a scene. There are way too many scenes. Many of these contain so many red herrings that one begins to discount everything happening on screen.

The acting is wooden. Especially Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) whose steely gazes are annoying and awkward. The mystery of forcibly including his sister in the first movie makes sudden sense - Annika Giannini (Annika Hallin) is the all-in-the-family lawyer who suspiciously seems like a civil attorney turned ace criminal lawyer for the sake of her brother. Which, brings us to the trial itself.

This section is the worst edited section. Most of the international audience are not aware of the Swedish court system - and the movie makes no attempt to clarify. There is a newscaster who summarizes the case updates for the blond tank character, but the producers could not think of including a news clip explaining what would happen during a trial? And the trial itself unfolds exasperatingly awkwardly. There are random scenes where the defense attorney seems overwhelmed by the prosecutor success, even when she has not had a chance to rebut, and she still has at least one massive ace up her sleeve.

I am not much in favor of Hollywood dramatizations and conveniently clarifying short-cuts. But if ever a movie suffered for lacking those narrative plot elements - this is it. Technically the movie is worse than the second movie, which only barely kept up with the first. Story is airy, with holes. And there is a decided lack of conviction among the cast. In fact they all look tired and defeated. As if the girl did kick the hornet's nest and they were all just stung.

March 10, 2011


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