Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Jacob Eriksson, Sofia Ledarp, Anders Ahlbom

Director: Daniel Alfredson

Writer: Jonas Frykberg, Stieg Larsson (novel)

Cinematography: Peter Mokrosinki

Original Score: Jacob Groth

Running Time: 148 mins.

Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy began with excellent The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a pacy, excellently shot and very well acted thriller in the style of Silence of the Lambs, it was followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire which furthered Lisbeth Salander’s back-story hinted at in Dragon Tattoo and played out as half a solid thriller, and half a turgid and rather dull film about an investigative journalist. It was a film that failed to hide its roots as a one-time TV series, condensed for a British/American market, which left us waiting to see what would eventually become of the rather convoluted conspiracy drama, and Lisbeth herself who was shot numerous times and buried alive …the answers to those questions do lie within The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, it’s just that they take a long time coming and offer a far from worth-while payoff.

Here is a film that is a slave to its TV birth even more so than its previous chapter, hacked down from what could be considered only a mildly interesting mini-series we are still left with a 2 and a half hour snooze fest that never once teeters on the brink of being remotely thrilling, or more importantly, engaging. Noomi Rapace is a magnetic screen presence, this we know from Dragon Tattoo but reduced to a passive presence she remains as stern and strong of a figure but without the spark and ferocity that made her so great to begin with. It is only in the final 15 minutes (more on that later) that she gets to do anything more than lay in a hospital bed hacking via a phone or looking morose, or briefly appearing in court all mohican-d up and mono-syllabically answering questions.

This wouldn’t be such an issue if the ensuing plot revolving around a deep government conspiracy and corruption to do with secret police and the mishandling of a 12-year-old girl (Lisbeth) were actually interesting, it isn’t, and will likely leave you wondering what is actually going on amidst the hack job that sees much of the story lost and has Michael Nyqvist, again so good in Dragon Tattoo, simply running around not actually appearing to do much other than be shot at while trying to publish the latest issue of Millenium magazine, something which will supposedly help free Lisbeth of the murder charges brought against her whilst revealing the treatment she endured at the hands of many nasty men!

Where The Girl Who Played With Fire had a similarly dull narrative thrust in the investigative journal thread, it at least had some sporadic yet interesting action/thriller scenes with a great (if clichéd) denouement that was both brutal and revealing, Hornet’s Nest has neith of these saving graces and the Bond-lite villain of Played With Fire is here reduced to killing on random and seemingly pointless occasions while waiting to get revenge on Lisbeth, for no apparent reason other than he is her half-brother. There is something deeply unusual about this character tha jars against the supposed seriousness of the rest of the film, but perhaps it is the most revealing aspect in giving away the stories pulp-y roots.

This tone is only ever given thrift again in a ending that is apparently only there to provide Salander with the opportunity to get some first hand revenge and add a little spice that the previous 2 hours and 15 minutes lacked, it is tacked on but by far the most enjoyable aspect of a film littered with non-events. Maybe if the whole film forged a little closer to this pulpy aesthetic we would have something that was at least mildly entertaining rather than simply dull, a great shame given the brilliant beginning’s of the trilogy, hopefully David Fincher’s upcoming remakes can at least rectify the issues of parts 2 and 3 while retaining what was good about Dragon Tattoo.

VERDICT

There’s only one thing that is worse than a bad film, and that is a boring one, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest is as deathly dull as they come. Anything resembling a thriller is lost beneath a mass of incomprehensible plotting and conspiracies which mire the performances of Rapace and Nyqvist who are here reduced to passive and confused, much like their audience then.

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