The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

T his ‘Girl’ Is Certainly A Hot Property

By T.T. Stern-Enzi

Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), now and forever to be known as The Girl, is the

Noomi Rapace In The Girl Who Played With Fire, Rated R. Grade: B+

most intriguing fictional creation to come along in quite some time. How many cyber-hacker pixies with bisexual tendencies, photographic memories and extremely violent reactions to men who abuse women arrive so fully formed on the screen? I suppose we should thank Stieg Larsson, the crusading Swedish journalist who created this sensational Girl as the centerpiece of his Millennium Trilogy, but we should also cry to the cruelest of Fates who took him away from us before he was able to extend her life even further in print, which would have provided for

more movies.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first book in the trilogy, burst onto screens in the U.S. just a few short months ago, having already conquered the European box office. All three books were adapted fairly quickly, allowing for Music Books Films, the U.S. distributor, to generate serial buzz with a schedule that matches each new multiplex debut with the DVD release of the previous installment. And, of course, there’s increased hype associated with the feverish hunt for the Hollywood version of The Girl to headline David Fincher’s remakes.

None of which would be possible, if The Girl wasn’t THE Girl. And therein lies part of the problem with the second installment in the series – The Girl Who Played With Fire – and the highly anticipated remakes. Dragon Tattoo introduced the troubled savant Lisbeth and Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), the journalistic do-gooder intent on toppling all of the corrupt evil-doers in Sweden and maybe even beyond, with style and a thrilling sense of drama as separate and distinct players in a much larger game that unfolded in a tantalizing narrative that strung each strand along before weaving them together. It was a risky gambit that paid off, in part because we knew nothing of Rapace and Nyqvist or
these characters.

With Fire, the cat is already out of the bag, so the film and its narrative is much more conventional and our expectations for both the performers and characters are already firmly in place. It is a treat to delve into Lisbeth’s past and see how the tables have turned, with Blomkvist racing in to protect Lisbeth rather than needing her to save his bacon. Larsson wrote these stories with enough smarts to downplay the action heroics in favor of multi-perspective espionage and police procedural elements instead. Even so, when push comes to shove, The Girl is Bourne-ready to give as good as she gets. This installment is not quite as hot as Dragon Tattoo, but the heat is definitely on and ready for her to kick it up a notch or three next time.

The Girl Who Played With Fire will be shown at the Little Art Theatre and the
Neon Movies

Reach DCP film critic
T.T. Stern-Enzi at contactus@
daytoncitypaper.com


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