The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Luftslottet som sprangdes)


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Lisbeth Salander contemplates her disdain for society.

(2009) Thriller (Music Box) Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, Aksel Morisse, Mikael Spraetz, Georgi Staykov, Annika Hallin, Jacob Ericksson, Sofia Ledarp, Mirja Turestedt, Niklas Falk, Hans Alfredson, Lennart Hjulstrom.  Directed by Daniel Alfredson

When caught in between a rock and a hard place, your choices are generally limited. No matter what you do, you’re going to get bruised and maybe even squashed. Your best choice of action might just be to attack the rock.

Lisbeth Salander (Rapace) is in a hospital bed, a bullet lodged in her brain following the events in The Girl Who Played with Fire. She is recovering but now she is being charged with attempted murder. The police want very much to talk to her but Dr. Jonasson (Morisse), who is her physician, forbids anyone but her lawyer, Annika Giannini (Hallin) – who is also the sister of Millennium publisher Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) – from visiting.  

In the meantime, Evert Gulberg (H. Alfredson) and Frederik Clinton (Hjulstrom), old comrades from The Section, a loose group of operatives in the Swedish Security Service who have operated on a quasi-legal basis, meet and decide that in order to protect their group, Salander will have to die, as well as her father, Alexander Salachenko (Staykov), who lies in a hospital bed a few rooms down from Salander, recovering from the wounds at her hands.

Gulberg, who’s dying of cancer, is elected to do it. He kills Salachenko in his bed, then tries to get to Salander’s room but Giannini, who was visiting her client, bars the door and Gulberg can’t get to her. He sits down on a nearby stool and shoots himself in the head.

Blomkvist is planning to publish an expose just before Salander’s trial in order to tell her side of the story and throw the light of day on the murky figures who have opposed her. The Section is none too pleased about either and put plans in motion to discredit Blomkvist and have Salander committed to the mental hospital where she spent much of her childhood after attempting to kill her father in an attempt to save her mother from spousal abuse (getting all of this so far?) for which Dr. Peter Teleborian (Rosendahl), a member of the Section and Salander’s former psychiatrist, has created a false report in order to do so.

With events spinning towards a reckoning and Salander’s half-brother Niedermann (Spreitz) loose in the countryside also wanting Salander dead, things are going to get a whole lot of ugly before they get resolved. The question is, will Blomkvist and Salander be alive to see things come to a close?

The third of the Millennium trilogy is in my opinion, the best one of the three and it is for somewhat odd reasons. Granted, Lisbeth Salander, the most compelling character, spends most of the movie locked up either in the hospital in jail but this I think makes her more vulnerable; her character is such a force of nature in many respects that a change is needed from the first two movies.

When Salander shows up in court in a Mohawk and leathers, it’s one of the more compelling courtroom confrontations ever. She is thumbing her nose at the system, refusing to testify in her own behalf and essentially telling the world “I’m not playing your game anymore.” It is a further example as to why this character is one of the most compelling to come on the scene in ages, and why Rapace is perfect to play her.

Some critics have excoriated the film for being too talky and they do have a point – there is a lot of conversation and little action here. That doesn’t mean it’s boring however – it is so well-written that you are interested in the conversation and given all the subplots bobbing and weaving their way around the film, it is a sucker punch to the gut when they eventually come together at the end.

The hulking blonde impervious-to-pain hitman is a staple of the Bond series but he is human here, as is the evil men pulling the strings behind the scenes and the psychiatrist in the courtroom. They are not caricatures and not figures, but flesh and blood people, greedy and reckless yes but understandable at least. They feel a part of our own world, as does Salander and Blomkvist.

The first movie in the trilogy is due to be released in a Hollywood remake directed by Oscar winner David Fincher this Christmas, with Daniel Craig as Blomkvist and newcomer Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. It is already being touted as an Oscar contender and could well be as successful here as it was in Scandinavia, the Swedish movies notwithstanding. However to those who are thinking of seeing that film, I urge you to find the three films made in Sweden and see them first.

WHY RENT THIS: The best of the bunch. Combines the taut thriller with a gripping courtroom drama. Rapace continues to be impressive.

WHY RENT SOMETHING ELSE: Once again a bit blander on the action than Americans are used to, although when it does come it’s pretty good.

FAMILY VALUES: The character of Gulberg is played by Hans Alfredson, father of the director.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT: The character of Gulberg was played by the director’s father.

NOTABLE DVD EXTRAS: None listed.

BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE: $43.5M on an unreported production budget; the movie was very likely a hit.

FINAL RATING: 9/10

TOMORROW: Super 8

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New Releases for the Week of November 12, 2010


November 12, 2010
Now THERE’S something you don’t see every day!

SKYLINE

(Universal) Eric Balfour, Donald Faison, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, Neil Hopkins, David Zayas, Robin Gammell. Directed by Greg and Colin Strause

Strange lights over Los Angeles are usually the signal for a movie premiere, but in this case they’re actually the first signs of an alien invasion, and no, we don’t mean the kind that are coming to wash dishes. No, they’re kidnapping humans en masse, whether for anal probing or to serve man we’re not sure but one thing’s for certain – they don’t have a green card.

See the trailer, clips and interviews here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: PG-13 (for scenes of intense sci-fi action and violence, some language and brief sexual content)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

(Music Box) Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Anika Hallin. The final installment in the late Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy finds plucky Lisbeth Salander fighting back against the corrupt government agencies that have nearly destroyed her life. Accused of three murders, she and crusading publisher Mikael Blomkvist will have to use all their intelligence and courage to survive the onslaught.  

See the trailer and a clip here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Crime Thriller

Rating: R (for strong violence, some sexual material and brief language)

Inside Job

 (Sony Classics) Daniel Sparks, Kristin Davis, Richard Fuld, Marcy Kaptur. The economic meltdown that has led us to this climate of woe was mainly the work of Wall Street greed; that much is undeniable and well-known, but this acclaimed documentary shows you the extent of the greed and cynicism that led to the collapse, and has threatened the very nature of capitalism. It should be required viewing of every high school senior in this country.

See the trailer and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Documentary

Rating: PG-13 (for some drug and sex-related material)

Morning Glory

 (Paramount) Harrison Ford, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton, Patrick Wilson. When a local news producer is fired, things look pretty bleak until she gets a position for the last-place network morning show. Resolving to turn around their flagging fortunes, she hires a respected news journalist to co-anchor alongside a personality used to fluff pieces. The two clash like Israelis and Palestinians, and the enmity begins to spill out on the air. Now the producer must save her own failing romance, her job and ultimately, the show itself.

See the trailer, promos and featurettes here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Comedy

Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content including dialogue, language and brief drug references)

Unstoppable

 (20th Century Fox) Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Chapman. A veteran train engineer and a rookie conductor are all that stands between a runaway train carrying toxic chemicals and a town lying directly in its way. Yet another collaboration between Washington and director Tony Scott, and this one is loosely based on an actual incident.

See the trailer, interviews and clips here.

For more on the movie this is the website.

Release formats: Standard

Genre: Action Thriller

Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of action and peril, and some language)