In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo we found out that Lisbeth Salander, the best, most acutely written literally character in years as played to fearless perfection by Noomi Repace, did indeed have a large dragon tattoo. Months later, we learned that she had played with fire, now, she's the girl who kicked the hornet's nest. What does that mean, exactly? I have no idea. Minor details.
For their third, and final outing, punked-out hacker Lisbeth and dedicated journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist, as cunning as the character he plays) continue to battle a corrupt system of old-school elites who seem to control... everything.
Hornet's Nest picks up the second where The Girl Who Played with Fire left off , so much so that the two can be viewed as the same film, with a thee month intermission. Which is why, if you haven't seen the first two films, this review will be tricky to write.
Lisbeth, now in police custody after arising from the grave and attempting to murder her deranged daddy, is shackled from fighting for her life. That's where Mikael comes in. He's smarter than the cops, more convincing than the thieves and fares pretty well with the ladies. He's like James Bond, but the kind that could actually exist.
Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first.
These movies, yes, all three of them, go on far too long. The story (the part that's important) ends well before the credits roll. But for some reason, they linger on for an additional 20 minutes.
Hornet's Nest, however, is the first of the series to lag in the middle. At two and a half hours, I need to mention that sections of this movie stall. Not horribly, but noticeably. But that's forgiven for two reasons. One, you know damn well you're not going to clock out now, after sitting through the first two. And two, the last 45 minutes make up for the lag, and then some.
Once Lisbeth sits her goth self down in the courtroom, the dialogue flies faster than any bullet, rivaling Inception in thrills and The Social Network in rat-a-tat wordplay.
And, of course, there is always Repace and Nvqvist to fall back on. Even though they haven't been given as much shared screen time in these last two films to flex their chemistry, both of them are best when playing off each other.
Nvqvist, with his scarred face and everyman belly, has done wonders with a very complicated, demanding role. Half physical, half ingenuity; he plays Blomkvist as a guy you fear but are immediately willing to divulge any and all information to.
I've said this before, but, let's be honest, this is Repace's show. In what has by far been the year's most challenging role, Noomi Repace has excelled as Lisbeth. She brings one of the most popular contemporary literally characters to life, exceeding all expectations. As Lisbeth, Repace is utterly convincing in everything she does. The way she stares down her accusers, or strokes a keyboard, or takes a drag off her cigarette; each mannerism and expression is undeniably flawless.
Daniel Craig should do well as Blomkvist in David Fincher's version of Dragon Tattoo, but my God does Rooney Mara have some very big shoes to fill.
I'll be rooting for her, knowing all well that nothing she does will top the original.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: B