Film & TV

"The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" Leaves Little to Buzz About

When we first see bi computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the final adaptation of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy, she is being transported to a hospital in Gothenburg, bloodied almost beyond recognition, the result of a bullet put in her brain by Zalachenko, her barbaric father, at the very end of part II. Her pummeled, gore-covered body was a recurring image in Hornet's Nest predecessors, but this installment quickly dispenses with the obligatory scenes of its heroine's traumatized tiny body. It's instead filled up by a convoluted procedural whose plot hinges on an abundance of indistinguishable old and middle-aged evil, pale patriarchs in ties and sweater vests. Remanded to a prison cell in Stockholm after her recovery, Lisbeth awaits trial for the attempted murder of Zalachenko while her infatuated savior, journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), uncovers the vast conspiracy that led to her repeated abuse by the state. That malevolent network committed Lisbeth to a mental institution at age 12 and would now like to return her there for good so it they can continue raping, sex-trafficking, and consuming child pornography with impunity. Having never read a page of Larsson's books, I can make no claims to Hornet's Nest's fealty to its original source. But, like the first two Millennium movies, this final installment feels thoughtlessly put together, its script unpruned and rushed through, all to capitalize on the staggering worldwide popularity of its dead author.

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Melissa Anderson is the senior film critic at the Village Voice, for which she first began writing in 2000. Her work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.