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The Girl who Played with Fire (2009)

The famous Lisbeth Salander has returned along with all of the complicated character attributes that her personality carries. Stieg Larsson’s second installment in his Swedish Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire, continues the intriguing story of Salander and her criminal-journalist friend, Mikael Blomkvist. After the opening chapter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, proved to be so successful, audiences couldn’t wait for this equally compelling sequel.

After Blomkvist is released from prison and Lisbeth takes up an indefinite absence from the world, she continually checks in on her rapist parole officer Nils Erik Bjurman (Peter Andersson). She threatens him to make sure he keeps up his role of their agreement to continue writing positive reports about her. Having had enough, Bjurman hires an unknown figure to “take care of her” for him. As this shady deal is coming together, a new journalist who has been recently welcomed onto Blomkvist’s team at Millennium, is found murdered along with his girlfriend. The two were planning on writing and releasing an expose about illegal sex trafficking along with all of its orchestrators and participants.

The crime is bizarre because whoever committed it makes it look like Lisbeth was the culprit. This forces her into doing some digging of her own in order to clear her name and protect those who she cares about while trying to avoid those trying to kill her. Not giving up on his former partner and often disappearing friend, Blomkvist conducts his own investigation to discover who is responsible for his employee’s death and attempting to frame his friend. The mystery unfolds little by little as Lisbeth’s past is unveiled and she sees who her real friends are.

Just like the first installment, The Girl Who Played with Fire doesn’t disappoint. It picks up where its predecessor leaves off and takes the audience on yet another intriguing ride. Although, he did not direct the first film, director Daniel Alfredson maintains the same pace and feeling that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo delivers. Noomi Rapace once again completely embraces her character of Lisbeth and right of the bat and reminds the audience that she still is a badass and won’t hesitate to do whatever it takes to make sure things go her way.

The screenplay written by Ulf Ryberg, to keep it very simple, is really, really, good. Yes, it was derived from the novel but the plotline and overall story makes you think and keeps you enthralled throughout. It doesn’t allow you to feel the two hour run time that it has. I was able to pick out some aspects and character developments before they were mentioned but I wasn’t able to do this until right before these moments happened.

With a story like it has and characters who you don’t know if you can trust or not, this film is definitely a watch. I’m looking forward to seeing what the American versions do with these films. No on to part three! I give The Girl Who Played with Fire “4.5 twisting plotlines out of 5”.


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