The second instalment in the bestselling Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larsson, whilst not as pacy as the first, is still an engaging and brutal thriller.
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are yet again on the trail of a killer. The murder of a freelance journalist and PhD student working for Millenium magazine on an issue about trafficking raises dangerous questions. Questions that the police and government don’t want answered. This time around, Lisbeth is framed, and Mikael is determined to prove her innocence. The Girl Who Played With Fire is a film that brings us up close and personal with the main characters. We learn about the violence in Lisbeth’s past, and the events which have led up to her being framed as a psychopathic killer. Lisbeth begins to accept the value of friendship; we see a softer side to her prickly and intense personality.
Though not as much of an action movie as the first film, this is a film that engages the mind and emotions. Rather than the slick special effects of a Hollywood movie, the shots are grainy and realistic. The grotesque and brutal events are thrown into sharp relief by the often murky lighting. The pristine and less believable camerawork that divorces us from the events in a Hollywood movie are not present here. An independent world cinema film, to me, has its own appeal, being less full of tired Hollywood clichés.
As a reader of the Millenium trilogy, I was left satisfied with the storyline; whilst parts were missed out, this is what you come to expect with film adaptations. If you like your thrillers brutal, your heroines powerful and a plot full of twists and turns, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a must see.