There are few cinematic heroines who can claim to possess such raw edge and fragile spirit as Lisbeth Salander. But not even the revengeful protagonist of Stieg Larsson's second novel can stand wearing as much war paint as star Noomi Rapace. When torturing her remorseless criminal victims, she paints her face joker-style. Not long after her donning a blonde wig in the opening scenes, it feels a bit silly. There's a Hollywood remake in the works but it might not be necessary, judging by some of this film's familiar conventions. One of the baddies can't feel pain – if that's not an excuse to make a human monster on screen, what is? More
That's not to say this fiery flick isn't worth seeing. There's still that sense of edge-of-seat, perpectual action, the graphic scenes of violence are more graphic and the poignant little girl lost Salander showed in the first film is ramped up thanks to an intense performance by Rapace, despite her cartoonish make-up. The film just doesn't quite live up to the excitement and surprise value of the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Part of the reason could be the new director at the helm, Daniel Alfredson, who originally shot this for TV. Although he mostly stays true to the feel of the first film, the story here is much more disjointed – episodic if you like – as journalist Michael Nyqvist (Mikael Blomkvist) and Salander operate as estranged, barely connected individuals. That's a shame because their unlikely chemistry was a pleasure to watch in the first film. Hide