When: Thursday, 3 March - Thursday, 14 April
Where: Various cinemas
How much: $17.00
The title of this final instalment in Stieg Larson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy might promise a lot of sting, but the film delivers woefully little. Director Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with Fire) gives about as much energy as the hobbling geriatrics that serve as Lisbeth Salander’s toothless antagonists this time around. In fact its seems as if the production has taken a bullet to the brain just like their heroine, who spends most of the film’s torturously long 142 minutes spent prone in a hospital bed. By all accounts, Larson’s third tome is a hefty, sprawling tale, and evidently it proved too much for Alfredson and his screenwriter Ulf Ryberg, for the result is a stodgy, terribly uncinematic affair.
But shortcomings be damned; we’re all far too invested in this saga, and damnit, unconscious or not, Noomi Rapace is too captivating to miss on screen. As the titular shit-stirrer, Salander opens the film as a bloody pulp being whisked to hospital after her run in with daddy dearest Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov) and her hulking half-brother Niedermann (Mikael Spreitz). A kindly and eventually rather smitten surgeon (Aksel Morisse) saves Lisbeth’s life and shields her from the police during her convalescence. Meanwhile the dogged journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) rallies his troops at Millennium to create an issue focussed solely on clearing Lisbeth’s sullied name. This investigation sets Blomkvist on the case of the aforementioned old men, who seem to need Lisbeth dead in order to protect their political skeletons. Then there’s the dangerously gormless Niedermann still on the loose of course a criminal trial to contend with.
With threats abounding, you would think tensions would be running stratospherically high, but somehow these stakes don’t manage to translate to the audience. Only Lisbeth’s spiky, skin-tight outfit stirs any emotion in the clunky courtroom scenes, while Blomkvists’ tepid run in with his would be assassins results in a barely causes a flutter. Ultimately an overstuffed plot and a striking heroine relegated to the sidelines sucks too much oxygen from the film, and an incredibly trite ending proves to be the final nail in the coffin of a disappointingly lacklustre finale. But all is not lost; from now on it’s time to look to the American remake, where David Fincher can surely resuscitate the series, and return Lisbeth to her enchantingly gothic glory.
By Alice Tynan