Written by Stieg Larsson’s

Directed by Daniel Alfredson

 Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist


The Girl Who Played With Fire



The second in the trilogy of films made from Stieg Larsson’s novels, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” is first of all faithful to Larsson’s writing and his plot line.  It has the same cast as the first film, but where it falls down is in the direction – this time by Daniel Alfredson.  His style is clunky, he has little sense of camera placement, and worst of all he has his heroine, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), wearing some kind of pancake makeup on her face so that all the marvelous bone structure of Rapace’s face, the interesting planes of it, are completely lost.  Moreover, Alfredson’s direction makes her look like any of a dozen leading actresses.  And just so you’ll know where I’m coming from, he can’t edit properly either; he holds on dialogue long past the point he wants to make, and fills the screen with static shots of Michael Nyqvist (he plays the male lead, Mikael Blomqvist) that don’t go anywhere.


Can I say anything more about the direction?  I think not.  What I can say, though, is that the story line, as invented by Larsson and scripted for the film by Jonas Frykberg, is still superb.  “The Girl Who Played With Fire” was the very best of the trilogy, short and without a wasted moment.  Although the film might be shorter by twenty minutes if only Alfredson would get out of the way of the story, the running time (129 minutes) does not feel too long.  What does feel too long is Blomqvist’s slow reactions to events.  For example, at one crucial moment we’ve seen him driving with his cellphone, then arriving at the scene of a wounded person.  Instead of calling in an emergency, Alfredson simply holds – and holds – on the shot.  Even a first-year film student would know better.


Noomi Rapace, who was so incredible as Lisbeth Salander in the first film, seems to be flattened out here – again by Alfredson.  Her face is flat, her movements too deliberate to be believable, and something that was in the novel and should have been in the film, is her strange and moving relationship with another computer hacker, who helps her out without ever meeting her when she needs it.