Reviewed by Ian Morales.
The Girl Who Played with Fire, directed by Daniel Alfredson, is the second installment of Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s popular Millennium trilogy. Released in the U.S. by Music Box Films, it’s the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, recently re-released as a special-edition DVD. If you’re looking for the next Bourne-like series with less military and more mystery, Larsson’s film adaptations are for you. The Girl Who Played with Fire defies the feared sequel disappointment and smoothly picks up where its predecessor left off.
After cracking a huge story about a high-profile executive’s involvement in a gun ring and other major offenses in part one, Millennium magazine publisher Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) is at it again, only this time tackling a major underground sex-trafficking scandal that leads to the murders of the journalists who broke the story.
Blomkvist is even more vulnerable the second time around, as he is without his unofficial partner, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). Nyquist’s portrayal exposes more layers to Blomkvist’s character, building upon the Blomkvist they are familiar with.
Rapace, as the multi-layered researcher, brings a subtle darkness and disturbed edge to Salander that outshines her outstanding performance in Dragon Tattoo. This time around, Salander is wanted for murder and on the run all while helping Blomkvist solve the mystery behind the sex-trafficking scandal. During his research, Blomkvist discovers some disturbing facts about Salander’s troubled past that answer questions left unresolved in the first installment. This discovery introduces new characters that bring about more action and drama to the film.
Audiences new to the series should make it a point to watch the first film before heading to the theater to see Fire. Audiences have to pay close attention to every detail in order to get the full experience of what the series has to offer. Not since the Bourne series has a movie trilogy been this well-executed.
The Girl Who Played with Fire is now playing in select U.S. theaters and will see wider release on July 16 and July 23. To find a showtime near you, visit PlayedWithFireFilm.com.