When a Swedish couple are murdered in their apartment, a nation-wide manhunt begins for the prime suspect, Lisbeth Salander (Rapace). The couple were working closely with Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist) at Millennium magazine to expose the sex trafficking trade in Sweden, and Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, starts his own investigation into his friends’ murders. Once again Salander and Blomkvist find their lives entangled in the most mysterious and dangerous way.

Swedish writer and journalist, Stieg Larson died in 2004 of a heart attack. His world famous ‘Millennium Trilogy’ was published posthumously, and the popularity of the books seems to be growing with each month. The movie adaptation of the first book: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, came out in the US in 2010, and despite only being released in just 200 cinemas, it grossed over $9 million, making it one of the most successful limited releases ever.

The girl who played with fire picks up where the first movie left off. We are helpfully reminded of what happened in the previous film, and start off with our loner-computer-hacker-heroine, Lisbeth Salander returning to Sweden after spending a year abroad. Trouble soon ensues; it seems to follow poor Lisbeth wherever she goes.

Lisbeth becomes the prime suspect in a murder case, involving her legal guardian, Nils Bjurman.  She is also accused of murdering a journalist and his girlfriend, who just happened to be working on an expose on human trafficking and prostitution in Sweden. One the news hits the press, Mikael Blomkvist, who still holds a bit of a flame for Lisbeth, decides to help her by finding out what really happened. He knows that he has to locate her before the authorities do. Lisbeth and Mikael work autonomously, as they try to figure out who is behind the murders.

There was a completely, totally, absolutely unnecessary lesbian sex scene halfway through the film. It is full-on, and I think it made most of the cinema patrons feel a little awkward. I am still not sure what the relevance of it is… it was certainly unexpected though. The film is violent, and shocking, as was the first. It is thought provoking, and highlights serious issues relating to human trafficking in Europe.

The acting is commendable, the script is well written, and I think it is a memorable film. There were a few scenes though in which the sub titles weren’t legible; there was white text on white background. The sub-titles might put off some people, but I didn’t find them to be too distracting. This film was much easier to watch than the first, it wasn’t as confusing, and there weren’t as many characters. It is an original movie, no doubt about it. There is something magical about Swedish cinema: it is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale environment.

I loved this movie, I give it four out of five stars.

On an interesting note…

An American remake of the first bestselling novel in the series: The girl with the dragon tattoo is meant to be starting production soon. Apparently Daniel Craig will be starring as Mikael Blomkvist, which I think suits; he would do a good job, and does kind of look like the original actor, Michael Nyqvist. Who will play the role of Lisbeth Salander is unknown, although rumours are that it will go to an unknown. They have some pretty big shoes to fill; Noomi Rapace did an extraordinary job.
I don’t really see why there has to be Hollywood versions of everything. The girl with the dragon tattoo is a perfectly good film on its own…I hope it isn’t destroyed.