Girl who Played with Fire

Posted by ron On August - 1 - 2010

Lisbeth Salander is not your usual tourist or woman for that matter.

The Girl who Played with Fire is the second film in a trilogy based on a best seller. This film didn’t waste any time reintroducing the relationship between the main characters. However this film required understanding the unusual relationship between Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvst as it relates to the plot.

Once again Sweden’s answer to Nancy Drew was placed in grave danger after she overplayed her hand against the man who raped her in the previous film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Having delivered substance over style, director Daniel Alfredson never let the story stray an inch from his talented leads. Yet, the two main characters never shared a scene unlike the film’s predecessor. The film’s pacing was important as the story was designed as an elaborate chase. First, Lisbeth chased after the murderer to clear her name. Blomkvst then chased after Lisbeth, while trying to stay one step ahead of the police. As the brilliant and troubled heroine became mired in the mystery, Lisbeth’s troubles suddenly had some disturbing coincidences and revelations.

Swedish filmmakers don’t believe in wordy dialogue. The actors never waste a word and will never speak 4 words when 3 will do. Much of this film’s emotional baggage was reserved in the subtle facial expressions and body language. Once again, Noomi Rapace delivered a commanding performance. As Lisbeth, she was both mysterious and emotionally complex. Like a ghost she visits her friends and lovers yet disappears without a trace or care in the world. In one scene, Lisbeth told her occasional lesbian partner that she did some traveling with a detached and somber delivery. Did she even have a good time? The answer was keyed into next scene. Dressed like a ridiculous tourist wearing a NY Yankee baseball cap and sweatshirt, she used her souvenirs to keep a low profile while searching for evidence that might clear her.

In Hollywood, there seems to be confusion over what is a strong female lead. Most of the roles today are derivatives of Buffy of the Vampire Slayer. Sexed up twenty something vixens who can kill anything 10 times the size and weight of their 80lb anorexic frame. This heroine was by no means a combat machine but skilled in using her brain to trick men into underestimating her. Not just Lisbeth but all the women in this film are far from helpless.

It was difficult to appraise this film because the plot was not even half as complex as its predecessor. Yet, a streamlined plot is not necessarily a bad thing. This film relied heavily on the lead actors’ natural charisma to carry the film. Dissecting the chemistry between the two leads was a critical component to what made the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo so special. Still, I firmly remain convinced the Girl who played with Fire was a solid companion piece. I am looking forward to the next mystery involving the mysterious Lisbeth Salander.

In my never ending homage to George Thorogood’s One bourbon, one scotch, one beer….I am giving the Girl who played with Fire smooth tasting shot of Maker’s Mark bourbon.


3 Responses to “Girl who Played with Fire”

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