12 February 2011

OMENS: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin, Anders Ahlbom, Tomas Köhler, Micke Spreitz. Based on the novel "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson. Script by Ulf Rydberg & Jonas Frykberg. Directed by Daniel Alfredson. Release: 27 November 2009. Zodiak Entertainment, 147 mins., Rated R

Plot: Lisbeth Salander versus a group of old men who did bad things.

What a beautiful title, and so appropriate and powerful to the narrative and the preceding two chapters. This is the end of the Millennium Trilogy [although there is allegedly a fourth manuscript written for the fifth book], and the end of the Swedish adaptations, signaling the beginning of David Fincher's Americanization. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO introduced us to Lisbeth Salander, a goth girl who has a personality that is uniquely her own, strong willed and full of attitude and brains, she was an unforgettable character. Luckily we didn't have to forget her - or wait long at all - cos its sequel, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE [review here], came out relatively quickly. Whereas the first one presented this odd but compelling characters, FIRE provides us with backstory of who she is and what exactly has happened to this woman to make her...say we say, fractured in some areas. FIRE was also the more action oriented as Lisbeth battled her own father, Alexander Zalachenko, and her half-brother, Niederman. In the end, she had been beaten up, shot, and literally crawled out of a grave. THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST is the fallout where pretty much everyone wants a piece of Lisbeth. There are two parties: those who want Lisbeth dead and gone, and those who want to acquit her. Largely a drama with moments of tension, HORNET'S NEST is a satisfying culmination of everything that came before, but as a individualized film, it is plagued by pacing problems and a plot that is just so clogged with names and other tidbits that it can get a bit confusing sometimes.

At this point, Rapace and Nyqvist are these characters, no acting involved. Just as well, Rapace has this amazing ability to give so much with just her eyes. The courtroom scenes could not be nearly as compelling if it wasn't for the fire in her eyes, even the half-concealed smirk when her prosecutors found themselves in a bit of a puddle. All that being said, it is unfortunate that Lisbeth doesn't give as much screentime as she deserves, and the two leads are largely apart through most of the movie.

Largely, with the film being centered around this giant conspiracy that revolves around Lisbeth, a few hundred names are dropped around often, and frankly, I was lost. I pretty much resigned myself to being in the dark and letting the story flow. After all, the important part is Lisbeth and getting her revenge on in the end. I'm quite sure that a back-to-back viewing of FIRE and NEST would alleviate that pain, but as a standalone film, NEST is hella confusing. And with all these different characters comes more scenes dedicated to these people, taking up precious time that should be spent on our leads. With all these characters, new and old, it boosts the running time, and inevitably, the film does lag a bit. Not fatally, no, just noticeably. The first half hour is pretty decent with the setup, suffers for the hour after, and when Lisbeth's court appearance is due, that's when everything picks up again. Ultimately, Lisbeth pretty much saying "F U" to everyone who ever screwed her in the past - literally and figuratively - isn't as satisfying as it should be. Maybe it was direction, or the editing, or the lack of a audible score, but watching the bad guys being dragged away by the police didn't have that hand-in-the-hair "Yes!" moment. Truth be told, I was being reminded of David Fincher's amazing direction with 'court' scenes in SOCIAL NETWORK and how it would have been beneficial in this case.

As the concluding chapter, HORNET'S NEST mostly delivers. As noted, I would have appreciated more with Micke and Lisbeth, even if it was just one scene more to sort of solidify the friendship. The end with Lisbeth and Niederman was pretty sweet, though, so that nearly makes up for it. In the end, as one connected body of work, the "Millennium Trilogy" was quite successful. Great performances that were simply riveting, pretty good scripts, and pure dedication to the material. Yes, there is room for improvement, not only for this film but the entire series, mainly in the pacing department, but it was a fun, compelling ride that I'm glad I went on. I never read the books, and I frankly don't see that in my horizon, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of these flicks. The Girl is worth it, and she's one of the most interesting characters audiences have come across in a while.

Now with one trilogy completed, let's see how the Americans do it.

Netflix Rating: Really Liked It

1 comment:

TheVern said...

Netflix also played the Extended versions of the Sweedish movies. GIve them a cghance because they go in to more details that were not in the theatrical versions. Curious at what you thought of the American remake/adaptation.