AWFJ Women On Film – “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” – Review by Susan Granger

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This is the final chapter in the late Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson’s thrilling crime trilogy, following “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire.” And if you’re not familiar with the complex, violent storyline revolving around a tortured, mysterious computer hacker, don’t even consider picking it up at this time.

This installment begins with bruised and battered Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) on a medical helicopter en route to a hospital where doctors remove a bullet lodged near her brain. As she slowly recovers, members of a covert, corrupt unit within bureaucratic Swedish Security plot to kill her, as does her lumbering half-brother Ronald Niedermann (Mikael Spreitz), while tormentors from her past – like creepy psychiatrist Dr. Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlborn Rosendahl) – conspire to convict her in court, where she faces charges for the attempted murder of her abusive father, Soviet spy Alexander Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov), and accusations of mental incompetence.

Meanwhile, crusading Stockholm journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his lawyer sister, Annika Giannini (Annika Hallin), work out a defense strategy, placing “Millennium” magazine editor Erika Berger (Lena Endre) and her staff in grave danger, motivating clichéd dialogue like: “We’ve got to stick together, now more than ever.”

Adapted by Ulf Rydberg and directed by Daniel Alfredson, it’s emotionally bleak, drenched in gritty realism, and the detail-heavy, cyber-hacking exposition drones on far too long. Since silent, glowering Lisbeth is confined to a hospital bed, then a jail cell, the action sequences are, unfortunately, few and far between, while Mikael’s character has been rendered dull, and their once provocative relationship remains blandly enigmatic.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” descends to a dull, disappointing, vengeance-filled 5. It’s intriguing not only to imagine how director David Fincher will handle the upcoming English-language remake, starring Daniel Craig, Robin Wright and newcomer Rooney Mara in the title role – but also to consider that Stieg Larsson’s girlfriend may have the manuscript for a fourth book.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.