The Girl Who Played With Fire (15, 129 mins)
Director: Daniel Alfredson
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Just five months on from the release of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, this first sequel in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy takes in the further adventures of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), now independently wealthy and free of her abusive guardian, Bjurman. Meanwhile at Millennium magazine, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) has hired a young writer to do an expose on trafficking, but when he and Bjurman turn up murdered, Lisbeth becomes the prime suspect. As Mikael and Lisbeth both look for the truth, the film is conducted as a series of interrogations amid a blur of new characters, few of which are compelling. It’s never boring exactly but given what has come before, the content of this sometimes overwhelmingly talky thriller just can’t compete with Dragon Tattoo. It should be edge of the seat, propulsive stuff but it comes over like a lukewarm TV drama. But the most damaging flaw is keeping Lisbeth and Mikael apart for almost the entire film, since it was their combustive relationship that gave the first film its edge. A strangely apathetic Nyqvist sleepwalks through lifeless conversations and Rapace gets nothing like the opportunity she had first time round to shine. Here’s hoping when she kicks the hornet’s nest in the final part later this year, the results are a good deal more satisfying than this.