The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

What next? I feel a distinct void before me now that I’ve seen The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. This was the 3rd and final part of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. The Hollywood version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,  with David Fincher directing, and Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara as the leads, is filming at the moment. The targeted release is still more than a year away with December 21st, 2011 being the set date now. So it is going to be awhile before I can get a fresh serving of Salander and Blomkvist

The first of the trilogy TGWTDT was a mystery story. The second one, TGWPWF, was an action thriller. However, this one is neither a full-fledged mystery nor a pulsating action thriller. Instead we shall call it a cross between a conspiracy thriller, a police procedural, and a courtroom drama. Actually it is all of those.

Hornet’s Nest begins where Fire ended. Lisbeth Salander had just been shot and nearly killed by her father Alexander Zalachenko and step-brother Ronald Niederman. As Hornet’s Nest opens, she is medivaced by a helicopter to the nearest hospital. Shortly afterwards we briefly watch a bullet being removed from a skull in a delicate operation.

Lisbeth did not die from her wounds. But she was hospitalized with a long and difficult road ahead her. Once her wounds would heal, and it was deemed that she was healthy enough, she would be transferred to a Stockholm jail. She had been charged with the attempted murder of Zalachenko, and would have to stand trial.

That’s the beginning of the film. Yes, it was a departure from the 1st film in terms of structure. But don’t think that this means there was no mystery requiring a resolution. In terms of action and pacing, we have to say, there was no comparing the 3rd of the trilogy to the 2nd film. In fact Hornet’s Nest could even be said to have some distinctly slow parts with a wee bit of action tossed in near the end..

But the beauty of this film is that it takes it’s time. Distinctly, they set about to make sure we understood that there was no rushing to close everything off. But everything did get explained, everything got settled, and it all got tied together rather nicely.

However, questions do remain. For example, the so-called Section which was a shadowy group of executives built right into the fabric of the Sweden’s equivalent of our Secret Service, FBI, and CIA, all in one. They were the real epicenter and controllers of any and all of Swedish political, judicial, and law-enforcement powers. If they thought you were a problem, they could have you be simply institutionalized, as in sent to a psychiatric facility, never to be heard from again; best case scenario. Or in the worst case scenario, a hit-team would show up one day and end your life. How was that kind of powerful agency allowed to exist, for so long, with zero media attention or formal governmental or judicial oversight?

It was that kind of element that worked behind the scenes in Lisbeth Salander’s life. From Zalachenko, to her one-time guardian Nils Bjurman, or that charlatan, Dr. Peter Teleborian, who controlled and nearly extinguished  Salander’s life. But Salander herself carried deep and severe internal issues. She trusted no one. Communications on a personal level were nearly impossible for her. Why, even as this film concludes, hasn’t she emerged yet?

In that atmosphere, Mikael Blomkvist, set out to clear Salander. As the publisher, and co-owner of Millenium Magazine, along with his part-time lover and the magazine’s editor, Erika Berger, they had their work cut out for them.

As do we as viewers. The often slow pacing, the many layers, and the fact that the two leads, Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace did not show up in the same place until the trial, and did not appear in the same frame until the last scene of the film, puts the onus on the viewers to pay attention. Yes, being that attentive was a difficult task, but the payoff was sublime.

In my view, for the amount of work it took as a viewer, I felt this film was easily the most satisfying and rewarding of the three.

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