The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009) – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, Micke Spreitz, Mirja Turestedt

Synopsis: The final instalment of the Swedish adaptation of Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, this follows the trial od Lisbeth Salander for the attempted murder of her father.   Mikael Blomkvist is on the case, tracking down evidence to expose the Section, a group within the Security Police responsible for a miscarriage of justice against Lisbeth, going back as far as when she was just 12 years old.

It took me a little longer to get this post up, needing to finish reading the source material for this film before sitting down to watch it.   As a result, as is often the case with film adaptations of popular novels, I did find this film lacking on a number of points.   Due to time constraints, this film tells the bare bones story, which in itself is a spectacular story, and will be enjoyed immensely by those that do not know what the next piece in the puzzle will reveal.   Those who have previously read the book though will notice that a number of layers that gave the book true flavour are missing.

A number of the changes made are understandable, and most likely related to time constraints.   There were some poor choices made in this cutting though.   A side story of Erika Berger going to become editor of a major newspaper was cut, and yet, elements of this story were still introduced.   Unfortunately, the resolution of this story was intimately tied to this original story, and as such I feel there was one source of a loose end there.

The testimony of Lisbeth’s psychiatrist in the trial was also told slightly differently.   None of the elements were changed, yet the testimony was split in two, the first segment making Lisbeth’s counsel, Annika Giannini, appear not up to the task of defense.   Perhaps a decision made to dramatically increase the stakes, but it harmed what was the most gripping chapter in the book.   It was an extraordinarily long chapter, but a real page-turner… I simply could not put my eReader down.   So yes, a small but in the end very damaging mis-step on the part of the screen-writer.

This also hints at my biggest gripe with the film.   Stieg Larsson’s novels were very much about acknowledging the need for female empowerment, in its many different forms.   I have commented already how in the films, both Erika Berger and Annika Giannini were actually weakened as a result of this adaptation.   They were both strong counterpoints to Salander’s atypical form of strength, and showed that strength is not just physical or in overtly masculine characteristics.   To have these characters so severely downgraded, along with the character of Monika Figuerola being little more than a footnote in this film, makes me feel the film makers missed the point entirely.

In conclusion, it is still an alright film, as regardless of the changes made, the intrigue of the central mystery of the novel remains.   Yet the overall scope of the story and its themes are diminished, and I feel anyone who lobes the book will feel these differences very strongly.

2 stars out of 5


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest on IMDB

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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