The Girl Whose Story We Cannot Follow in Hornet's Nest
When we first see Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, the final adaptation of Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy, she is being transported to a hospital in Gothenburg, bloodied almost beyond recognition, the result of a bullet put in her brain by Zalachenko, her barbaric father, at the very end of Part II, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Her pummeled, gore-covered body was a recurring image in Hornets Nest predecessors, particularly the first, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which seemed to get more sick kicks out of depicting the sexual and physical violence done to Lisbeth by the Men Who Hate Women (Larssons indelible original title for Dragon Tattoo) than condemning it. Hornets Nest quickly dispenses with the obligatory scenes of its tiny heroines traumatized body, including extreme close-ups of a small rectangle being cut out from her noggin on the operating table. Its bloated running time is filled up instead by a convoluted procedural whose plot hinges on the opening and closing of MacBooks, and an abundance of indistinguishable old and middle-aged evil, pale patriarchs in ties and sweater vests.
As in Played With Fire, which, like this film, was directed by Daniel Alfredson, the heroes of the trilogybi computer hacker Lisbeth and her infatuated savior, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), co-editor of the muckraking Millennium journalare apart for almost all of Hornets Nests 148 minutes. Lisbeth recovers in her hospital room, where she narrowly escapes being killed by the First Sinister Old White Man, before resuming friendly chats with her benevolent doctor (Its understandable that youre tired) and makeshift strength training with a surgical glove. Once better, shes remanded to a prison cell in Stockholm, awaiting trial for attempting to murder Zalachenko; Lisbeth and her attorney, Annika (Annika Hallin), Mikaels sister, will plead self-defense. And Mikael will insist to the three other people on Millenniums masthead, when they arent deciding what kind of sushi to order for lunch, that they print the latest issuewhich will uncover the vast conspiracy that led to Lisbeths repeated abuse by the statebefore the judges hear her case.
That malevolent network, called the Sectiona rogue group of politicians, law enforcers, and psychiatrists formed 30-plus years ago, dedicated to protecting Soviet defector Zalachenkocommitted Lisbeth to a mental institution at age 12 and would now like to return her there for good so that they can continue raping, sex-trafficking, and consuming child pornography with impunity. Its like a classic Greek tragedy, someone not wearing a sweater vest says about the increasingly implausible plot threads (which also includes Lisbeths jumbo half-brother, still at large and out for blood, and Serbian assassin brothers).
Those who have been stirred by Lisbeths wrath and wiry might in the past will this time have to settle for a few minutes of her doing calisthenics while in stir, a bit of nastiness with a nail gun, and her biggest fuck-you to Scandi propriety: dressing in full leather fetish wear with Aqua-Netted mohawk and Clockwork Orangeinspired eye makeup during her trial. Limited to the facial expressions of perma-hate throughout the trilogy, Rapace has given her chiseled cheeks and coal-black eyes, burning with the intensity of a million midnight's suns, a thorough workout. (If The Social Networks Rooney Mara, who will play Lisbeth in David Finchers Dragon Tattoo remake, cant scowl as effectively, she at least comes with brand recognition: The Girl Who Inadvertently Inspired Facebook.)
Having never read a page of Larssons books, I can make no claims to Hornet's Nest's fealty to its original source. But, like the first two Millennium movies, this final installment feels thoughtlessly put together, its script unpruned and rushed through, all to capitalize on the staggering worldwide popularity of its dead author. We have not been able to process all this new information, the judge overseeing Lisbeths case says after Annika lays out the Sections evils. Maybe shes speaking on the filmmakers behalf.
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