out of Five
Running time: 148
This remains watchable thanks to Nyqvist and Rapace but the lacklustre direction, lack of pace and bloated script ensure that it's closer to the mediocre nature of the second film than the brilliance of the first.
What's it all about?
Directed by Daniel Alfredson (who also directed The Girl Who Played with Fire), The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (or Luftslottet som Sprängdes, original title fans – translation: the bursting of the air castle) is the third and final instalment of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. The film picks up where the second film left off, with hacker-turned-vengeful-investigator Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) recovering from gunshot wounds in hospital and craggy journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) working frantically against time to uncover the conspiracy before Lisbeth is tried for murder.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of Lisbeth's hacker buddy Plague (Thomas Kohler) and Blomkvist's lawyer sister Annika (Annika Hallin), who are enlisted to help Lisbeth write an account of her life that will support her trial and prevent evil psychiatrist Peter Teleborian (Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl) from convincing the court that she should be declared insane. Meanwhile, Lisbeth's murderous, Frankenstein's monster-like half-brother Niedermann (Mikael Spreitz) is still on the loose.
The nature of the story means that the third film is much more of a courtroom thriller than a detective story, which will obviously disappoint anyone hoping for the superlative detective movie style thrills delivered by the first one. Nyqvist and Rapace are both excellent and at least they have more screen time together here than they did in the second film, even if Rapace does spend half of her time in a hospital bed and the other half in the dock.
On the plus side, there's a strong sense of injustice (both against women and in general) that drives Lisbeth's story and Alfredson does at least convey something of that anger.
That said, the film (which, to be fair, was made for TV) still can't shake off that TV movie feel and some severe pacing issues ensure that it's a good 30 minutes too long, with protracted, dull stretches in the middle section. It also completely wastes Spreitz's character – for all the plot relevance he has here, they might as well have killed him off in the second one.
The performances in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest ensure that this remains watchable, but if you were disappointed with the second film, don't bother with the third.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest (15)