The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: movie review

The final chapter of Stieg Larsson's trilogy, 'The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest' brings punk hacker Lisbeth's quest to a blazing climax.

By , Film critic

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    Noomi Rapace adds some edge as Lisbeth Salander in ‘The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,’ the third installment of author Stieg Larsson’s bestselling ‘Millennium’ trilogy.
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My favorite moment in the "The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" has nothing to do with blood or vengeance.

Punk hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), recovering in a hospital bed from a bullet wound to the head, is visited by her sympathetic young doctor (Aksel Morisse). Realizing she will soon be taken by the police to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders, he is protective of her privacy. He says to her, "You are one of the most interesting patients I've had in a long time."

It's a funny line, and both doctor and patient, despite her force field of wariness, are in on it. It's also one of the more wry moments in a film that, for the most part, plays like a pretty good TV police procedural. This final installment in the series derived from Stieg Larsson's bestselling "Millennium" trilogy, like its immediate predecessor "The Girl who Played with Fire," was, in fact, originally shot for Swedish television.

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Everything in the trilogy – which, in case you've been sequestered on Mars for the past few years, began with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" – wraps up here. Consequently, it doesn't have the transitional-movie dragginess of the previous installment (which was shot back-to-back with this one by director Daniel Alfredson).

"Hornet's Nest" has a steady, bulletlike trajectory. Lisbeth must prove her innocence while her muckraking magazine ally Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) risks his own life, and the lives of others, to help her. Meantime, rogue officials in the government are attacking her from all sides.

My favorite attacker remains the hulky Niedermann (Micke Spreitz), whose lack of a nervous system is a distinct advantage in his line of work. Inevitably he and Lisbeth, overdue for payback, square off. She discovers a new use for a nail gun.

Hollywood has, of course, taken notice of the "Millennium" trilogy. Instead of simply letting these Swedish films serve as the sole adaptations, at least one of the movies, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," is being remade, with David Fincher, fresh from "The Social Network," directing. In his new "improved" version, maybe he can have Lisbeth hack into Facebook. Grade: B (Rated R for strong violence, some sexual material, and brief language.)

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