The Girl Who Played with Fire: Fight Fire with Fire (2009)

Posted: December 29, 2011 in Crime, Drama, Foreign, Mystery

Moving on from the drama of the Vanger family, Mikael has started his next story on the trafficking of girls, as highlighted in a report by Mia Bergman and followed up by additional research from Dag Svennson. With Lisbeth still in hiding from her involvement in the receipt of a chunk of the Wennerstrom fortune, Mikael begins his investigation alone. The research starts digging up some interesting connections between the johns, but what makes the process delve into dangerous territory is a series of murders involving Mia, Dag and Nils Bjurman. Because Lisbeth had visited Bjurman before the murder and left prints on his gun, she is seen as the primary suspect in all three killings. Now on the run, she is preoccupied with the search to find the killer(s) and determine how a man named Zala, who is uncovered during Mikael’s investigation, fits into the puzzle. Serving as a serious threat to Lisbeth’s safety and Mikael’s attempt to prove her innocence, a new player, the nearly indestructible R. Niedermann, is leaving a trail of destruction in his attempt to keep a dark secret.

Starring: Michael Nyqvist (Mikael Blomkvist), Noomi Rapace (Lisbeth Salander), Lena Endre (Erika Berger), Peter Andersson (Nils Bjurman), Michalis Koutsogiannakis (Dragan Armanskij), Annika Hallin (Annika Giannini), Sofia Ladarp (Malin Erikson), Georgi Staykov (Alexander Zalachenko), Hans Christian Thulin (Dag Svensson), Jennie Silfverhjem (Mia Bergman), Per Oscarsson (Holger Palmgren), Yasmine Garbi (Miriam Wu), Ralph Carlsson (Gunnar Bjork), Jacob Ericksson (Christer Malm), Reuben Sallmander (Enrico Giannini), Micke Spreitz (Niedermann)

Michael Nyqvist is back as the inquisitive Mikael Blomkvist. Playing the character a bit darker, he is representing the determination to prove the innocence of a friend. While his character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo showed a little carelessness for his own life, he continues to push the line of what he is willing to do and how deep he is willing to go. Though Nyqvist is certainly a central character to the story, it is Noomi Rapace who still steals the spotlight. She shows a little peacefulness at the start of the story, coming off her travels around the world. When she becomes the target of investigation, she displays a similar determination to Nyqvist but also a bit more fear for her life. Lena Endre as Erika Berger has a much bigger role as the editor of Millennium. Trying to provide a sense of reason and guidance to Nyqvist’s more reckless methods, her character helps to both support and temper the report and investigation of the larger conspiracy. Yasmine Garbi plays Miriam Wu, who also serves a larger role in this film. While she was just the girlfriend in the original, she becomes an important player in the identification of the monster Niedermann, played by Micke Spreitz. There is also the chance to finally meet Lisbeth’s father, played by Georgi Staykov.

Taking over with this second installment, Daniel Alfredson attempts to take the second book of the series and turn it into a more linear story with a lot of plot twists. Seemingly unrelated at the start, Mikael’s focus on the trafficking story and Lisbeth’s initial conviction of murder become one in the same when both seem to involve a mysterious individual, Zala. While Lisbeth tries to stay in hiding initially, her curiosity and need to solve the case on her own pushes her to investigate the late Bjurman and his potential involvement in her past. Mikael’s discovery about the johns help to uncover more and more about Zala and his actual identity as Alexander Zalachenko. The connection with Niedermann is unclear but the story helps to reveal his connection with both Zalachenko and Lisbeth.

The second film does a better job with creating a more linear and complete story with fewer unanswered questions. Since this is the second in a series of three, there are of course a few major storylines that are left open to be resolved in the third part, but there is a more direct connection between the individual investigations of Mikael and Lisbeth, as well as the inclusion of Bjurman’s past and present murder. The keeping of secrets takes a new level of danger as there is also much more violence during the investigation, rather than looking into incidents of past crimes. There are a number of efforts to keep certain people quiet, which leads to the deaths of Mia, Dag and Nils and the pursuit of Lisbeth. In addition, the story reveals much more about Lisbeth’s past, which was left unknown in the first section of the trilogy.

The Girl Who Played with Fire is a gripping crime drama that includes more action and a complicated plot that is very compelling. It is a great follow up to the first film/book and helps to better develop the main characters in the story.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5

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