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The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

Flickan som lekte med elden

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 129 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

The Girl Who Played With Fire is like all middle children that have a successful elder sibling, they will always suffer in comparison. Continuing with this awful analogy, the second instalment of the Millennium trilogy is still living at home on minimum wage in the shadow of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a legendary Heart Surgeon who does voluntary work counselling abused children in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The girl with this dragon shaped tattoo is Lisbeth Salander (Rapace), a bisexual, gothic computer hacker with a messed up past. She previously teamed up with inquisitive journo Mikael Blomkvist (Nyquist) to solve an old murder case but now shady characters from her past have surfaced to discredit her. Lisbeth is framed for the murder of Blomkvist’s colleague Dag (Thulin) and his girlfriend who have been outing a sex-trafficking ring so the resourceful weirdie and Blomkvist go on separate quests to find out who was behind it.

The opening third of the film is frustratingly disjointed and it takes a while for the momentum for Daniel Alfredson’s movie to kick in. Too much time is spent watching Lisbeth catching up with her mates and being transported between micro-scenes like a sketch show. Also, one of the first film’s best facets was the chemistry between Lisbeth and Blomkvist but they are kept apart for the entire film here as they tackle the case from separate angles.

Having said this, The Girl Who Played With Fire is not a bad movie it’s just not that great. There is plenty tension, fast paced action and nifty detective work and a decent puzzle that’s solved with some satisfaction as long as you suspend disbelief at some key points. Importantly, the characterisation from the first is not wasted but built upon and there are some real character arcs to be seen. 

Just need the third one to come out now then we can welcome the pointless American remake for those people that can’t read.

It's Got: Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist back and nowhere near each other, lesbians!, twists and turns

It Needs: A more purposeful opening, less to-ing and fro-ing


Alfredson’s effort is too disjointed and just doesn’t give enough shared screentime to the charismatic leads to get even close to the awesome The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Shame.