REVIEW: The Girl Who Played With Fire

14 06 2011

In retrospect, all my complaints about “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” were nothing compared to the ones I can lodge against its sequel, “The Girl Who Played With Fire.”  This adaptation of Steig Larsson’s incredibly intricate and suspenseful novel ultimately amounts to little more than a visualization of his major plot points.  As a reader of the trilogy, this was disappointing but acceptable.  However, as a watcher and reviewer of movies, this was a sloppy movie severely lacking in many significant areas.

For one, basic acting technique.  Generally, when trying to convey emotions and the importance of events, actors create stakes that then register with the audience and goad them toward the appropriate response to what’s taking place on screen.  Meryl Streep creates stakes; Al Pacino creates stakes; even Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart create stakes.  Yet no one in “The Girl Who Played With Fire” seems to be interested in creating stakes, though, making the movie a muddled mess where the characters just seem to wander from event to event without any idea of their importance.  I can’t even imagine how hard this movie must be to watch for someone not familiar with Larsson’s far superior book.

The movie makes the same mistake as its predecessor in cutting out all subplot to focus on Salander (Noomi Rapace) and Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist).  This time around, it’s a fatal move as the supporting characters are so crucial to the storyline as Blomkvist searches for answers to a series of murders that seem to have Salander’s name written all over it.  In addition, Nyqvist’s total lack of emotion makes his carrying the movie simply unbearable.  I know it’s cliched to say “the book is so much better, read it before you see the movie,” so I won’t say that.  Read the book instead of seeing the movie.  C+ / 

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