Thursday, November 4, 2010


Last night I did one of the things I do when something disappointing happens and I want to remind myself of the good things in life. I went to the movies.

I decided days ago that I'd catch this flick I'd been looking forward to as soon as the elections were over. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST is the last film in the trilogy based on the books by Stieg Larssen.

As in the first two, this one too is compelling movie making for me. If you haven't seen the first two there's enough flashbacks in this one to bring you up to date. But they work best as the trilogy they were intended to be.

What's compelling for me is still the performances, despite the fact that sometimes the subtitles made me laugh because they were either translated so lamely or what was going on onscreen seemed to make them unintentionally humorous. But even those unintended comedy breaks didn't lessen the impact of these films for me, nor did some of the usual over-the-top melodramatic plot points, because the performances come off as so real, they ground any extravagances of the story lines.

Maybe it's just because these actors are still so unfamiliar—as are the locations, even after three flicks in the series—and speaking in Swedish, which at times sounds surprisingly like "American" (a few phrases  and words are actually in English and seem to be used by the Swedes, at least in the films, as a kind of slang) that gives them a veracity they might not have when the Hollywood versions come out (all of which are due out in the near future).

But despite the basic storyline's contrivances and unlikely coincidences and timing etc., the main characters are so interestingly portrayed by the lead actors that I get immediately engaged every time I watch them, as I did with this latest that seems to resolve every plot point positively (as unlikely as that is in real life) but saves itself in the little coda at the end where the two main leads—the crusading middle-aged male journalist and the young female punk techno-and-physical-combat genius—seem as awkward and unable to communicate their feelings as ever.

Nice touch that, and it leaves the ending ambiguous enough to resonate as the reality that is sometimes missing in the other storyline concoctions.

At any rate, it was just the escape I was looking for, along with those little ice cream "dibs" that aren't as good as the ice cream "bon-bons" they sold at Radio City Music Hall when I was a boy, but they'll do for now.


Miles said...

Just caught The Girl Who Played with Fire a few nights ago. I like this series, though I'm conflicted when I recommend it (especially the first one). So incredibly dark, and yet as you point out, such good story telling. I look forward to catching this one as well, though I doubt I'll get to see it in the theater.

Lally said...

Yeah they play the darkness pretty overtly too. I hear the books are uneven in the same ways, that their strength is the characters and storytelling.