(Dir. Daniel Alfredson, 2009)
"It's like a classic Greek tragedy. Zalachenko tries to shoot his daughter, assisted by her brother. Then she rises from the grave to plant an axe in her father's skull." - Fredrik Clinton (Lennart Hjulström)
That's right - Lisbeth Salamander (Naomi Rapace) is back in the third and final edition of the extremely popular "Millennium" trilogy, but after the events of the last film she has to recover in a hospital bed, which kind of drags this movie down right from the get-go.
It's the same hospital that her evil father (Georgi Staykov) was taken to - you see that axe didn't quite do the job (or quite cut it if you want to go the pun route).
Meanwhile Rapace's old journalist friend Michael Nyqvist assembles a special issue of his magazine Millennium devoted entirely to expose that several authorities conspired against the dragon tattooed Girl who plays with fire to protect a pathological killer.
At the same time the old white haired men behind the crimes scramble to have Rapace placed back at St. Stephen's mental hospital where she was wrongly committed when she was 12 years old.
Oh yeah, there's also the supposed to be frightening factor that her half brother (Micke Spreitz)- a blond brute who again looks like a '60s Bond villain henchman is out and about killing and torturing folks on some kind of Anton Chigurish-bender.
When Rapace is fit for trial she emerges in completely punked out attire - tall pitch black faux-hawk, heavily pierced, black leather, black lipstick and eye shadow. Her so cold and sullen attitude does her or the movie any good though as the court room scenes have no edge.
They take too much time in the drab back and forth questioning with a predictable playing out that makes this movie seem for a long chunk that it's "The Girl Who Treaded Water."
It's all leading to the inevitable violent showdown between Rapace and Spreitz in yet another dark warehouse setting.
In a overpopulated cast it's hard to keep everybody straight but the other notable people here are Lena Endre as a pregnant lawyer friend of Nyquist's, Annika Hallin as a flirty Millenium magazine co-worker, and Anders Ahlbom as another evil entity from the Girl's past - a corrupt psychiatrist trying to keep all wrong doings under wraps.
As you can probably tell - I thought this was the least inspired of the 3 films that make up this series based on the bestselling novels by the late Stieg Larsson, but I know it's still one that fans of the previous films will just have to see and will most likely find a fitting, if muted, end to the trilogy.
Having not read the books I don't know if it's faithfully handled but I just bet that there's more emotional resonance to the characters than what's on display here.
Maybe the English language version of the series, directed by David Fincher and starring Daniel Craig with Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salamander set for release in 2011, will figure out a more satisfying conclusion for all those who hate subtitles. We shall just have to wait and see.