“Girl Who Played With Fire” worth seeing

Second in series picks up story where "Dragon Tattoo" left off

| Jul 22, 2010

<cutline>A scene from <em>The Girl Who Played With Fire</em></cutline>
The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second in a trilogy of films based on novels that have become a phenomenon in Sweden and Europe, and Hollywood is working on its own version of the films at this moment.

However, don’t wait for the Hollywood versions when you can enjoy the Swedish films and then compare and contrast later.

Also, see the first film in the trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, first, because the story of all three is chronological, and otherwise you might be unnecessarily confused by characters and events that are explained in the previous film.

This one begins with the anti-heroine and title character Lisbeth Salander entering a man’s apartment late at night while he is asleep and looking for the files that he has on her.

He is Nils Bjurman, and he is Lisbeth’s court-appointed guardian who has to submit a monthly report on how Lisbeth is doing. She awakens Bjurman, threatens him with his own gun, and tells him to send in only positive reports about her or else she will go public with a damaging DVD she has of the two of them together.

After Lisbeth leaves, however, Bjurman calls someone named Zala and tells Zala to kill Lisbeth and return the DVD to Bjurman.

Then two people who were just about to publish an investigative article about the sex trade in Sweden are found murdered, and Lisbeth is the prime suspect, but the police can’t find her.

Neither can Mikael Blomkvist, Lisbeth’s friend and collaborator from the first film, and as he tries to get in touch with her, he discovers more information about this mysterious woman, some of it quite disturbing.

There are plenty of characters, events, and locations to keep the audience guessing about what is going to happen next, but the ending has way too much unnecessary melodrama, especially since we all know that a third installment is coming in the story.

This one also leaves a lot of unanswered questions at the end, one of which is why do filmmakers put white subtitles over a white background, making them almost impossible to read?

The Girl Who Played With Fire is well worth seeing, but not as good as the first film, and I am hoping that it is just another case of sophomore slump.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”


“Hotshots” is a weekly movie review by Dan Culberson available on KGNU Community Radio (88.5 FM in Boulder and 1390 AM in Denver, on Filmchannel1, and on Boulder Reporter. Culberson has been reviewing films since 1972 for newspapers, magazines, radio and television.


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