The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009) – Daniel Alfredson

The second film in the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played With Fire, adapted from the novels by the late Stieg Larsson, remains just as captivating and thrilling as the first film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Like all sequels, the statement could be made that this time it’s personal, but it’s better to look on it as getting a deeper look at the iconic character of Lisbeth Salander, brought to life in the film series by Noomi Rapace.

After the events of the first film, Lisbeth has taken to warmer climes, before returning to confront her lawyer/guardian, Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson) who is seeking to have a certain tattoo removed that Lisbeth gave him. After she confronts him, he ends up dead, murdered.

Meanwhile, the journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is following up leads for a story for the Millennium news magazine, when the two people who are working on the article, which centers around sex trafficking and organised crime end up murdered – witht the same gun that was used to kill Bjurman, and the only fingerprints on it are Lisbeth’s.

Blomkvist refuses to believe Lisbeth committed murder, especially given the subject matter the victims were working on, he’s convinced she would have been helping them.

So the two begin digging from opposite ends of the case, Blomkvist isn’t ready for what he’ll find, and Lisbeth is going to have to confront her past as things get way too personal for her.

Dark and thrilling, the sequel moves on at a white knuckle pace driving us to inescapable confrontation, and a violent climax that no one may walk away from.

Both Rapace and Nyqvist seem to perfectly embody their characters, and I know I read the second and third book after I saw the first film, and despite purchasing them as they were released, I wouldn’t watch them until I was done the novels. But for me, these two actors are the characters they bring them to life with apparent ease, and are willing to leave it all there on the screen.

These stories are messy, dark, and not the easiest watch for some viewers, but that’s why the actions taken by Lisbeth and Blomkvist seem so much more powerful – the darkness seems almost overpowering, but they are willing to confront it and destroy it by dragging it into the light.

With beautiful locations, perfectly cast performances, and authentic characters, The Girl Who Played With Fire takes us deeper into Lisbeth’s character and backstory, revealing who she was, is, what she’s done, and how the system has failed, and taken advantage of, her.

But that won’t stop the final delivery of justice, something she believes in all the more stongly because of what she’s gone through.

I can’t wait to revisit the final film in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.

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