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Capone has seen the Swedish adaptation of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST! Now it's Fincher's turn at Lisbeth Salander…

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here. After watching the third and final installment of the Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson's wildly popular Millennium trilogy (following THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, which was just released on DVD this week), I realized that as three separate films viewed months apart, the story seems strangely and unnecessarily stretched out. Watched in a single day, one after the other, I think these three movies would feel like exactly what they are--a single, layered story that takes place in both the present and the past, in which the two time frames merge in a fairly unique and imaginative manner. Still, to get this trilogy in a single calendar year feels pretty special, especially when you consider the powerhouse performance we get from actress Noomi Rapace, who played the beyond-damaged (but not beyond-repair) Lisbeth Salander. I've already heard some people complain about THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST because Lisbeth spends more than half the film either in a coma or recovering in a hospital bed with very little to do (the remainder of the film has her largely in a courtroom, which isn't exactly Action Central either). I actually think that restricting Rapace in such a way has shown that she's still a compelling enough actress to make us care about her in any state. And I could stare at her face for days, both because she can make it beautiful when she wants and make it absolutely terrifying. The first time she walks into the courtroom in full Lisbeth piercings, spiked hair, studded collar, and ghostly makeup, I practically broke out into applause. But I'm getting ahead of myself... Hornet's Nest is directed by PLAYED WITH FIRE helmer Daniel Alfredson and picks things up right after the events of the last film. Lisbeth has been shot in the head and beaten nearly to death. Her partner in crime (who shares almost no screen time with Lisbeth) is journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) who is taking the information he learned in the last film and preparing a massive exposé on government corruption and how Lisbeth has been treated horrifically by the system most of her life. As part of his investigation, he will attempt to exonerate Lisbeth who is about to stand trial for the attempted murder of her father, who is also recovering in bed at the same hospital. When those with secrets that may be revealed in this article discover that Blomkvist has documents that could seriously damage their lives, an effort gets underway to recover the papers and eliminate any loose ends, including Lisbeth. Bodies begin piling up, evidence is acquired and lost, and events of the past come crashing into those of the present. If I have one major complaint about THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST is that it's a bit unfocused. As much as I think the film would like us to think Blomkvist is the one we're supposed to care the most about, there are far more interesting characters to attract our attention away from him. His staff at the magazine feels threatened (thanks to, you know, death threats and attempts on their lives), but that's never really dealt with. Blomkvist's editor and sometimes friend with benefits Erika Berger (Lena Endre) stops coming into the office as a result, but the magazine comes out anyway. There are a group of decrepit old men that seem to make life and death decisions to protect what little is left of their lives, but again, the film never really stays with them long enough to make me care. I will admit that I completely love the character of Lisbeth's sociopathic half-brother Ronald Niedermann (Mikael Spreitz), who returns to unleash utter chaos and destruction. He's awesome. The most fully realized of Hornet's Nest's supporting characters is Lisbeth's abusive and corrupt psychologist Dr. Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom). In my mind, he's the villain we most want to see taken down in this movie, and Ahlbom plays him with just the right amount of self righteousness, guilt, and fear to make him oh-so worthy of our hate. I don't really think any of the Millennium trilogy films are great works of art, but I've been eagerly anticipating the second and third parts ever since DRAON TATTOO flashed before my eyes and caused me to wonder "What the hell was that, and who is that remarkable, highly dateable woman in the lead?" At the same time, this story has run its course, and I'm not sad the series is over. And while I'm always curious about what David Fincher has in store, I can't say I'm bouncing off the walls with anticipation about his version of this story, especially since the films are being released at much greater intervals. As for the Swedish version of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST, my strongest recommendation is to watch the other two films first, then head out to see this one. Treat them like a single, really long movie. I think you'll find the entire experience more interesting that way.
-- Capone capone@aintitcool.com Follow Me On Twitter



Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:13 a.m. CST

    time I ratired

    by IWasInJuniorHighDickhead

    to my study to continue my riting.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Slight glitch in the article

    by KarlH

    Erika Berger is the character, Lena Endre is the actress.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:42 a.m. CST

    re: "that remarkable, highly dateable woman"

    by lochkray

    Wow Capone. The one thing I never thought about during her fantastic performance, was the idea that Noomi Rapace might be dateable. Kind of a statement to her remarkable performance as Lisbeth, I kinda found myself thinking that if I met her in the street, I'd probably run the other way. So, either kudo's to you for being able to see the woman beyond the character, or you really like your women fucked up and owning a tattoo gun.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Hello?! Spoiler Alerts!!!

    by dank_turd_wrangler

    Hey Capone, in the future let us know before you post a review with spoilers in it. Some of us haven't seen played with fire yet!!!!!!!!

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Progressively less interesting to m

    by DocSavageFanFromWayBack

    I watched them all in order (got them from relative from overseas) and found GWDT very, very good with each of the others less interesting as they went along. <p> I did find the brother the most interesting in the two subsequent films.<p> My wife read the books and found them to be much, much better (I read the first one and agree).

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST

    4th book

    by roguechef664

    Larsson wrote 3/4 of another novel but died. His family got everything, gf got nothing. But, she now has the hard drive with the novel. Maybe someday. we'll see it.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 9:19 a.m. CST

    Massive spoilers for The Girl Who Played with Fire in there

    by Righteous Brother

    to be expected I guess, but I still read a few things I didn't want to know - must try and erase from memory.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Fincher

    by Gunslinger1919

    I'm crossing my finger for him....so hoping he does turn in a LET ME IN

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 9:38 a.m. CST

    DocSavage

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    It's the same way with the books. Dragon tatoo is really good with the others getting worse IMO. I really struggled to get through Hornets nest. It's 500 pages of boring shit and 200 pages of awesome. I'm interested to see Hornets nest but I can't see how they can fit everything in. There is a lot of unessacary stuff in there so it'll be easy to cut down I gues. Fire seemed to be a bit unfocused to me as well and I can't see that changing with the last movie. Still interesting enough to watch though.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Wennerstrom worse than Vanger?

    by Man in Suit

    When I finished "Dragon Tattoo", I couldn't figure out why Mikael and Lisbeth let the Vanger Corporation continue to operate while they tried to put the Wennerstrom Corporation out of business? Vanger was controlled by a second generation serial killer and Wennerstrom was just a regular highly corrupt company. Are we supposed to think that- aside from having sexual predators as CEOs- that Vanger was a wonderful company? Larson really undercut his theme at the end. I can't imagine that the next two books/movies do much to salvage that.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Played with Fire was a hard read

    by Jack Burton

    Some great stuff but it is so bogged down in mundane details. Nowhere near as good as Dragon Tattoo and way too long for as slight as the plot is.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:08 a.m. CST

    man in suit

    by Affleckwasthebomb

    I think it's that Martin(the killer) was only one responsible for the murders not the corporation. While martin was CEO it was the old guy who was in charge so everything still came through him. The Vangar corporation must have been clean. Simple as that. Martin kept his secret very well, you wouldn't of guessed it. Just because of one bad apple doesn't mean the whole company would have been corrupt.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Saw this awhile ago.

    by Stalkeye

    Wasn't too happy about the ending since it felt a bit open ended. (especially the relation between Lisbeth and Blomkvist.)Anyways, I'm sure this will springboard noomi's career. She's kinda hawt for a skinny chick.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    Rooney Mara WILL BE an epic fucking fail.

    by PennsyDeux

    No-talent trust fund baby, she is; let's hope she's nominated for a Razzie for her performance in the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot. Hayden Christensen redux, this will be.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Fuck off Fincher!

    by BiggusDickus

    Why the bastard fuck are they remaking a perfectly good series of movies almost as soon as they've premiered? <p>Oh wait, I know - because the majority of cinema-going Americans are too fucking lazy/stupid to read a subtitle. <p>Wankers.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    BiggusDickus

    by phifty2

    Yeah fuck us lazy/stupid Americans. None of us have ever watched the original movies and had a nation wide vote to have them remade. <p> I love how it's cool to bash all Americans based on the actions a few individuals but

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST

    try and do that to

    by phifty2

    Muslim nations and look out, now you're an asshole. <p> People really have a raging hard one to bash America these days.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I should have just said boner.

    by phifty2

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Or "hard-on"

    by lochkray

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Oddly, "errection" wouldn't have worked.

    by lochkray

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Oh, and back on topic

    by lochkray

    I think the anti-american sentiment is directed at the Hollywood movie machine, not necessarily, say, Maude Johnson of Iowa. Because of the juggernaught that is the American pop-cultural production system, and how the rest of the world (english and non-english speaking alike) injests its products so rapidly, I think some people take offence that when another country makes a quality film (the Millenium movies, Let the Right One In, Rec) that the general American public will not see the movies until it is filtered and remade through Hollywood. Of course, in my humble opinion, this has less to do with Americans not being willing to view the products, than studios not willing to simply buy the distrabution rights and share the profits. Instead, they buy the remake rights and control all of the money that subsiquently (hopefully for them) comes in. So the originals are never properly promoted, and not viewed by the general american movie going public. So its actually the fault of capitolism - and what could possibly be more American than that?

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Yeah, sorry...

    by BiggusDickus

    ...that was a bit sweeping, wasn't it? It's just with this and 'Let Me In' (for fuck's sake!), Hollywood really isn't doing itself any favours lately.<p>Anyway, my apologies for tarring all you lovely ex-colonials with the same brush. I appreciate that you're not all raging mongtards (though your love of NASCAR and what you laughingly refer to as 'footbal' continues to escape me...)

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Thanks Afflectwasthebomb

    by DocSavageFanFromWayBack

    Thanks. I suspected as much which is why I moved on to other reading.<p> Reminds me of the Dexter books. They started out great and have gotten progressively worse as they continue.<p> Almost like the series....almost....

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 12:36 p.m. CST

    does the first book ever get good?

    by Eddie_Dane

    My girlfriend is making me read it and I'm about to jump in front of a subway. Borrrrrrrrring

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Money is part of remakes...

    by Hipshot

    But knowing both actors and directors, I know that they are EXACTLY like stage actors and directors in the sense of thinking "wow! I'd love to play that role." "Wow! I'd love to direct that story." Of course, studios love money (who doesn't) and love to play it safe. But actors give their eye-teeth for roles like "Girl." This is why good plays get remade over and over again. You're right to think that money is in the equation, but the good role leads to money down the road anyway...so you can't really disentangle them. Artists are complicated.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Swedish Movie Trivia

    by TrueLies

    The second and third movies in the Swedish versions of this trilogy were directed by Daniel Alfredson. His brother is Tomas Alfredson, who directed Let The Right One In.<br> <br> We know how the English remake of that worked out.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    BiggusDickus

    by phifty2

    I myself don't quite understand the appeal of NASCAR other than hoping for a crash. Football(American) I do like but I'm more of a baseball guy. And as a bit of an anglophile I've tried to understand Cricket but just get more confused the more I read or see about it. Aren't there games, I'm sorry, matches, that can go on for days?

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 5:07 p.m. CST

    I read a lot...

    by HansBubi

    ...and I can handle the slowest of slow moving movies and books as long as there is something compelling about it, yet I've tried reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the first couple hundred pages consist of back-stories. There were about 20 or so pages of present day happenings, and those were the only pages that interested me. The rest reminded me of an old person telling you all about the old days, without giving you a clear point where the story is going. If you spend 20 pages describing one slice of someone's life in great, great detail, the reader should feel like it is all going somewhere. Early in my reading of the book I chose to re-read pages of the book when I realized I was struggling remembering the many, many, many details given about people in the past, and then I eventually realized almost none of it mattered. Although the author is a very consistent style and tone throughout, which is impressive from a writing standpoint, yet 90% of a book should not be fine details that aren't creating plot, characterization, atmosphere, or mood. I eventually gave up on the book, and a friend told me that "everything happens in the last 50 or so pages of the book," which seemed bizarre considering the book has 480 pages. This person also told me that, although she still had a love for the series, she was struggling with getting through the third book. Apparently it repeats information and things from the previous books, as if it were written for people who didn't read the previous entries. Now a talkbacker might refute that point, yet I can say based on my own experience of reading the first 200-and-so pages of the first book that I got about 30 pages of plot out of it. I realize there are classic works of literature that included tons and tons of details and descriptions, yet these elements served a purpose. I'm glad many people have enjoyed reading the series. However, I am absolutely puzzled at the mainstream success of the series. These books are everywhere...airports, Target, etc. From what I read and know of the series, the author's style seems like it's for a very, very small audience. Still, people are eating this series up like it's The Da Vinci Code, and this series is definitely not a popcorn-entertainment type series.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 5:34 p.m. CST

    Hansbubi

    by lochkray

    You wrote, "90% of a book should not be fine details that aren't creating plot, characterization, atmosphere, or mood." Isn't that funny, I say the exact same thing about JRR Tolkien's work - and we all know how popular his novels are. I haven't read the Millenium books, but if what you are saying is accurate, that doesn't bode well for my enjoyment. Oh well. I liked the first movie.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 7:42 p.m. CST

    You see people.

    by phifty2

    Fads like the Twilight series are not only written for teens, they exist in the adult fiction section as well. And people fall for it. Yeah I've read them. Let me know know when you've read Peter Straub's The Throat and then we can talk about a well crafted, deep, muti-layered mystery.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    "errection" = when your dick gets hard by mistake

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Well, as one who has been through all three books...

    by Toruk_Makto

    I'll just say that I found them to be quite entertaining, I even found myself calling out a few dorky 'right on's near the end of the girl who kicked the hornet's nest. I enjoyed every detail Larsson provided about everything and everyone. I certainly do not recall being bored as each element Larsson covered, he did so from an intriguing perspective. <p> I figured out pretty early on based on the protagonist personal attributes and philosophies, that Stieg Larsson could give fuck all about adhering to standard conventions. His stories move in an unhurried pace, revealing elements he finds relevant or interesting. I love the dismal statistics he prefaced some of the chapters with, showing that his interest in such crimes extended beyond the world of fantasy, which isn't surprising given that he was apparently a journalist. From what I've heard, he wrote these books in his spare time after work for his own enjoyment and was in no particular hurry to get them published, i.e. (cash in/seek fame). If the world was a better place that is how all works of art would be created. <p> One day I'll probably read up the authors background, I've already gathered a great deal by osmosis, but I'm always fearful there will be something I learn about the person that will spoil the work they've done and perception I've developed of them. In the case of the Millennium books, the impression I had developed about Stieg Larsson was that he was a genuinely good guy, a guy I wouldn't mind having a beer with. <p> Maybe that's why the books are doing so well.

  • Oct. 29, 2010, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Friggin' A, chill with the spoilers.

    by Flip63Hole

    Kind of more enjoying to learn about the plot when watching the movie, ya know?

  • Oct. 30, 2010, 1:39 a.m. CST

    As an old school goth from the 80's

    by Dennis_Moore

    I have to say we would've been embarrassed to hang out with this character and her trying too hard spooky kid get up.

  • Oct. 30, 2010, 8:52 a.m. CST

    The original Swedish trilogy was planned as a nine-hour mini-ser

    by Bodenland Unbound

    But it was released in theatres as three shorter movies. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/3a4t6gy

  • Oct. 30, 2010, 8:59 a.m. CST

    A good reason to remake these films

    by steele8280

    is that while the first one was good, the second and third were so-so and poor. If Fincher does all three I'm sure that will be 'fixed'. Looking forward to the remakes.

  • Oct. 31, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    A word on "remakes" of The Girl w/ the...and...

    by phifty2

    ...Let the Right One In. <p> If the material is based on a book it is not a remake, it is an adaptation. <p> If a new Dracula movie came out you wouldn't say "I can't believe they're remaking that movie!" Books are open to multiple adaptations. Someone mentioned The War of the Worlds earlier. If a new movie was being made, set in Victorian times, you would not say "What! They're remaking that Tom Cruise or the guy from Bat Masterson movie?" You would say, "It's about time we got a faithful adaptation." <p> In conclusion, all movies based on books are not remakes; they're adaptations.