Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

While the three-tier rating system I use on this blog has the advantage of simplicity, it does also mean that the qualified recommendation, as the middle band, tends to cover rather a wide range.  For instance, it stretches from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - which I only nudged down from a full recommendation because of the sexual violence and the fact that lots of people are funny about subtitles - to this film, which only just scrapes into the bottom of the band on the basis that I know lots of people are really into this sort of cinematic nonsense.

And make no mistake, this film is nonsense.  The measured and compelling mystery of the first movie is jettisoned in favour of car chases and contrivances.  Which doesn't necessarily make for a bad film, mind you.  The Fast and the Furious franchise is pretty much built on such silliness, and the last four films in the series have all been good fun.  On the other hand, I think that a big part of their success comes from their rapid pace and non-stop spectacle.  For my money, that momentum is what is missing from this movie.  Its pace is simply too methodical, leaving the weaknesses of the plot exposed because I have enough time to stop and think about them.

Said plot involves the murder of a young journalist who is on the verge of exposing a sex trafficking ring.  The murder weapon is left at the scene, and proves to have the fingerprints of Lisbeth Salander on it.  Lisbeth goes into hiding and she and the dead man's colleagues - which include the journalist whom she helped in the previous movie - separately begin investigations into what really happened.  The mystery will soon prove to have deeply personal implications for Lisbeth, while also seeing her survive stuff even John McClane would have trouble walking away from.

It's a tolerable action-thriller I guess, but it's a pale shadow of the first film.

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