The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" as a book and Swedish film took me by surprise. If was already sweeping across the US before the original film hit DVD here (now there's a needless remake on the way for those of you that simply cannot watch foreign films, you bastards). Now I feel obliged to review the second film, "The Girl Who Played With Fire", since I sincerely enjoyed the original and due to the gathering cult status of these films that is transforming into mainstream success. Turns out the second film is not only a downgrade from the first, but its actually a pretty massive disappointment.
After taking a year to travel around the world, Lisbeth (Rapace) finds herself drawn back to Sweden. Her friend Blomkvist (Nyqvist) has been working on a serious article about sex trades when he discovers that his main writer has been murdered. The number one suspect? Lisbeth. Now framed for a handful of murders she did not commit, the eclectic hacker has to find the true culprit and clear her name. With Blomkvist's help, she just may find that her past has finally come back to bite her in the ass. Will her past be the end of her future?
What made "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" such a fascinating gem of a film was its great balance of modern thriller and old school Agatha Christie whodunit mystery. This sequel lacks that. It simply comes across as a modern thriller. To make matters even more disappointing is the fact that unlike a normal 'thriller' I rarely felt thrilled with the film. The film is muddled in its presentation of the winding story that falls prey to its subtlety making it a rather boring and slow dragging watch. Thusly, by the final act of the film I didn't really feel the needed connections to the plot for it to be the pay off it tired to be. Not to mention the lack of an epilogue to the events, the film ends rather quickly, made it feel as though the writers dropped the ball on the story. Too many things and untied ends were left hanging by the final moments. It just kind of pissed me off.
On the greener side of the fence, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" is damn well executed. It's a beautiful looking film, production wise, and the acting from our two leads and the supporting cast is impressive to say the least. It carries some solid atmosphere too that really embraces that Swedish feeling of the film.
Sans the acting and general look to the film, "The Girl Who Played With Fire" is handedly inferior to its previous film. The characters aren't near as intriguing, with particular mention to Lisbeth who just lacks the mystery and edge that made her so damn interesting originally despite a solid performance, and the plot/pacing are far too slow and plodding to be as thrilling as it could have been. Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments for a sequel for this reviewer in quite some time.
Written By Matt Reifschneider