The cinematic adaptation of the third novel in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy wraps things up in a satisfying way. That being said, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is the weakest installment in the movie trilogy, which also includes The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire.
It lacks the narrative energy required to sustain a 148-minute running time, most of its characters are two-dimensional, and the Ronald Niedermann (robotically played by Mikael Spreitz) subplot is largely unnecessary and somewhat distracting. Much of the film consists of elements that are difficult to depict on the screen in an interesting and engaging manner: characters talking about, thinking about, and investigating various important things. Investigative suspense can work really well in a film—two good examples are All the President’s Men and Zodiac—but The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest does not succeed in generating a high level of suspense.
Daniel Alfredson also directed the middle entry in the trilogy, and his competent direction ensures consistency between this movie and the previous one. However, one cannot help but wonder how parts two and three would have turned out if Niels Arden Oplev, the director of the first installment, had directed those movies as well and if the intention all along had been to release all three parts theatrically.
Just like the second movie in the trilogy, this one was originally supposed to have been released only as a two-part TV miniseries, which explains its made-for-TV feel. The cinematography is simple, unpolished, and rather dull.
Michael Nyqvist may not bring much nuance to his portrayal of Mikael Blomkvist, but he is nevertheless adequately solid in that role. Noomi Rapace continues her tour-de-force performance as Lisbeth Salander, although she has comparatively little to do here. Other cast members who stand out positively are Annika Hallin in the role of Annika Giannini, Blomkvist’s sister and Salander’s lawyer; Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl as Dr. Peter Teleborian, the character who comes closest to dethroning Peter Andersson’s Nils Bjurman as the trilogy’s most memorable antagonist; and Hans Alfredson, who has a small but noteworthy role as Evert Gullberg.
(Original title: Luftslottet som sprängdes.)