To say Stieg Larsson’s novels are popular would be an understatement, and the first two film adaptations The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2009) and The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009) (both released theatrically in the authors’ native Swedish) have been both critically and commercially well-received.
The third and final adaptation in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009), picks up exactly where The Girl Who Played with Fire’s blistering final moments left off; our troubled heroine Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) has been fatally shot and left for dead after a brutal confrontation with her estranged father and dangerous, seemingly indestructible stepbrother.
Whilst Lisbeth spends most of the film battling for her life in hospital, away from the relentless media, the devoted Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his Millennium publication battle to clear her name of murder, whilst also uncovering the identities of the forces perilously conspiring against her.
Making up for the series’ somewhat tepid second instalment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is a gripping and deeply satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, tying up loose ends and featuring some of the most compelling courtroom sequences committed to celluloid in recent years. Noomi Rapace continues to impress with her charismatic, award-worthy performance as Salander, whilst also sharing a heartfelt chemistry with the incomparable Michael Nyqvist, who maintains his poise as a leading man.
Though The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest does move at a rapid, “blink and you’ll miss it” pace, it is nonetheless a compelling piece of cinema, with an ending that will leave you smiling for all the right reasons.