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The Girl Who Played with Fire


Jeff Nelson

The Girl Who Played with Fire is a good film that holds its own...

The Girl Who Played with Fire
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After the excellent execution of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was unsure on how well the sequel would hold its ground to its predecessor. Even those who read the books were giving high marks to the first in the trilogy. This is a rare occurrence since most fans pick at the book to film translation since all of the smaller plots aren't put in the movie. The biggest concern is the running time. Even though writers can place a large amount of sub-plots in novels, the same cannot be done with movies. If it's too long, many audiences will lose interest. Does The Girl Who Played with Fire stand as tall and proud as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

Tech expert Lisbeth Salander becomes the prime suspect when three people are murdered after Millennium magazine publisher Mikael Blomkvist launches a report of the Swedish sex trade. Blomkvist digs deeper into a possible conspiracy to clear Salander's name. I haven't read the books myself, but those who have are complaining that this film is missing a lot of sub-plots. When the fans of the book are pleased with the film, it proves to be a good omen. However, I don't believe that the movie needs to be an exact replica of the book in order to be a strong motion picture. In this sequel, audiences get to dive deeper into the character of Lisbeth Salander. Her past is explored as Mikael Blomkvist tries to prove that Salander didn't commit any of the three murders. She's a clever woman that thinks quickly, making her an intriguing character to follow. Bomkvist and Salander both have an incredible amount of depth. I didn't find the plot to be as engrossing as the one seen in the previous film, but it's never dull.

The cast is one of the reasons why The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was so effective. Michael Nyqvist returns as Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace plays the role of Lisbeth Salander once again. Both of these actors deliver their characters well. The chemistry expressed between the duo is genuine. Rapace and Nyqvist are so convincing that you will truly believe that these actors are the characters and not simply acting. Even though the entire cast delivers good performances, Noomi Rapace outshines the rest. She handles the dialogue oriented scenes just as well as the exciting sequences in the climax. You know you're watching a quality cast when they make the film feel so engaging.

Despite Niels Arden Oplev's absence behind the camera, The Girl Who Played with Fire carries a similar atmosphere to its forerunner. Daniel Alfredson takes the seat behind the camera for both sequels. The style of the screenplay is quite a bit different from changing writers, but Alredson kept faithful to Oplev's atmosphere. The film has a dark and ominous presence. The peak of the movie gets rather intense and the camera work is great during the more hectic portions of the movie.

After watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it was difficult to not hold high expectations. The first one is unquestionably that good. I wouldn't be surprised if The Girl Who Played with Fire got mixed reviews. However, the film still pulled me in and kept my interest. Some of the best modern films being made are foreign movies. While this isn't better than the first motion picture in the franchise, it's better than most in the sub-genre being released in America. The screenwriting isn't as powerful as it could have been, but the acting rules with an iron fist. The Girl Who Played with Fire is a good film that holds its own, but isn't quite as good asThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

My Rating = Four Stars

Next movie: 30 Days of Night: Dark Days
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