Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Girl Who Played With Fire

(Flickan som lekte med elden, Swedish, 2009)

This is the only film and book in the trilogy whose title remained more or less intact (the cyber-translator I used rendered it as “The Damsel Playing With Fire”), and it obviously was the source of all the English “The Girl Who/With” titles. These titles are improvements for the English-speaking audience. This film/book and the third one are really one long story, whereas the first could have stood alone, without a sequel. This one ends in a huge cliffhanger, with Our Girl hovering on the edge of death. I just wanted to warn readers/viewers of that, and you should understand that these last two movies were made for Swedish television serialization and have been cut down slightly and separated into two movies when they really are only one story. As such this one suffers a wee bit, as most second trilogy stories do (Tolkien’s The Two Towers), but only a wee bit. Although all the players are very good, particularly Michael Nyqvist as Michael “Kalle” Blomkvist, once again it is Noomi Rapace who owns her every scene, including some that she isn’t even in. Her presence always looms over everything. This movie begins to explain how Lisbeth Salander got to be the way she is, and the unfolding horror of what was done to this one girl by the State starting at the age of 11, and how it is still ongoing, is repugnant and compelling. Throughout these movies she is suspicious of intimacy—though she has an active sex life—and will not talk to cops or shrinks. Not now, not ever, even if she has a compelling reason to do so. Now, on to the climax …