The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Movie Review

2 stars

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, The final movie based on Stieg Larsson’s wildly popular Millennium Trilogy, sadly rides off, not into a glorious sunset to bask in the proud achievement of having wrapped up the series on a high note, but rather into a hospital Intensive Care Unit to lick its bedsores. Director Daniel Alfredson and screenwriter Jonas Frykberg (who also collaborated on the second installment) should have been reminded to change the bed sheets and occasionally roll this yawner over.

Some of the blame lies with Alfredson, whose The Girl Who Played With Fire lost some of the momentum generated by the initial installment, but more fault lies with either Larsson’s story or Frykberg’s script. I haven’t read the source novel, so I can’t accurately place blame, but the fact remains; the only kicking going on in this borefest is a slow, methodical, painstakingly thought out and meticulously aimed kick to the audience’s private region. To be fair, there’s a lot of material (500+ pages) to condense down to an acceptable runtime, but it’s also the job of the filmmakers to make sure that what’s left is interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, it’s neither.

The story picks up where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off: with our fearless gothy heroine, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), badly injured and recovering in a hospital ICU following a violent beat down from her father, a sadistic Soviet defector living under Swedish government protection, and his hulking hired-hand (whom we discovered is her half-brother). It’s a bad place to be for sure, as she’ll face murder charges once she recovers from the bullet wounds to her head and lower extremities.  But with the help of her crime-solving journalist pal and sometimes lover, (although that “sometimes lover” thread seems to have played out somewhere along the line) Mikael Blomqvist (Michael Nyqvist), Lisbeth hopes to both prove her innocence as well as uncover the dark political forces so deeply entrenched in the Swedish political system. {googleads}

The film creaks and moans along its tracks like a rusting locomotive, its bloated narrative sapping the mojo generated though its first two breezy chapters. Unfortunately, this film completes the appearance of the law of diminishing returns, as the series has now tracked from dangerous and eerie in the crackerjack opener, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to provocative but slightly disjointed in The Girl Who Played With Fire, to now totally broken and listless in Hornet’s Nest. It’s truly sad to watch the decline.

Before becoming a journalist, Larsson was somewhat of an expert on racism and right-wing extremism, so it’s understandable how he became so enthralled with the intricate minutiae of the rampant sexism and violent misogyny so deeply embedded in Sweden’s black history. And it’s an admirable task to take that on with his Millennium novels. But that degree of technicality doesn’t always translate to the big screen (hi, Tom Clancy)… and it certainly doesn’t here. Whereas the first two films were driven by Rapace’s angsty Lisbeth and the fiery danger of a plot sailing at breakneck speed, this one falls prey to an overstuffed screenplay and bad guys who turn out to be bunch of stodgy old white men facing long overdue comeuppance. And no, an effective climactic action sequence showdown between Lisbeth and her pesky, Leslie Nielson look-a-like archenemy isn’t enough to save this thing.

As late as a few weeks ago, I could have been spotted flailing about in an immature tantrum, angry at the news of the Hollywood machine champing to gets its filthy mitts on this uncontaminated franchise. Admittedly, my anger was calmed somewhat by the news that Fincher was slated for the English language remakes. But now, having suffered through this disappointing send-off, it’s time to roll out the red carpet for Fincher’s vision. The countdown begins now. 428 days to go.


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong violence, some sexual material, and brief language.
Director: Daniel Alfredson
: Jonas Frykberg
Cast: Noomi Rapace; Michael Nyqvist; Lena Endre
Genre: Foreign | Crime | Drama
Music Box Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 29, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
January 25, 2011.

Synopsis: In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest – the final installment of the "Millenium trilogy" – Lisbeth Salander is fighting for her life in more ways than one. In intensive care and charged with three murders, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.



Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 25, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English
Swedish: Dolby Digital 5.1; English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)

This 1080p transfer seems to be a bit darker than the previous two releases from Music Box. The transfers don’t seem to be getting stronger; only grainier and full of visual inconsistencies. The shadowy interior scenes have less depth than The Girl Who Played With Fire and are less visually strong. Film grain appears in the daylight scenes revealing the budgetary limitations that faced the film’s production. The sound is presented in a lossless 5.1 and offers its viewers a choice of Swedish subtitles or dubbed English.



  • None

Special Features:

  • As is the case with these releases, there simply isn’t anything but trailers for upcoming Music Box releases and a trailer for the film.