Socialist Worker

The Girl Who Played With Fire: A compulsive portrait of conspiracy and corruption

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2216

This is the second film made from Stieg Larsson’s bestselling Millennium trilogy.

The film sees Lisbeth Salander, the central character of the books, tackle the ghosts of her childhood.

A warped psychotherapist abused Lisbeth as a child and she saw her father repeatedly beat her mother.

She responded by throwing a petrol bomb into her father’s car—nearly killing him and disabling him for life.

Her story is set in the context of the wider politics of Sweden.

Nazi-influenced thugs traffic women who become sexual objects for some of the most powerful men in the country.

Mikael Blomkvist, a principled journalist, is preparing an expose of the trafficking, which goes to the heart of government and the police.

The calm exposure of corruption and conspiracy at the top of society makes for compulsive viewing.

The film gains momentum as the story progresses—a triple murder becomes the focus of Sweden’s attention and Lisbeth is in the frame.

Lisbeth, played by Noomi Rapace, is transfixing. Her way of dealing with misogynists may be individualistic, and violent, but it is hard not to empathise.

The portrayal of women is well done and the film is a good representation of the book, yet still feels raw and sometimes surprising.

The worst thing to happen to this film lies in the future—there is a Hollywood remake on the horizon.

It is painful to imagine how the brilliant simplicity of the landscapes and dialogue, and even the “action” bits, will be butchered by a CGI-obsessed multi-million dollar budget.

So enjoy this film, and its prequel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, before it’s too late.

The Girl Who Played With Fire is out now in cinemas nationwide


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Reviews
Tue 24 Aug 2010, 17:30 BST
Issue No. 2216
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