The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (15, 147 mins)
Director: Daniel Alfredson ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Picking up exactly where The Girl Who Played With Fire left off, this conclusion to the blockbusting Swedish trilogy that began earlier this year with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is anticlimactic in the extreme. Given the glacial pacing and the fact that a large percentage of the antagonists are very elderly men, The Girl Who Kicked the Zimmer Frame would be a more accurate title. When we last saw our heroine Lisbeth Salander, she’d had a showdown with a Russian defector who turned out to be her father, which has left her in a hospital bed with a bullet lodged in her skull. Meanwhile journalist pal Mikael Blomkvist is trying to clear her name and expose a bigger conspiracy involving Swedish government officials during the 1970s. For an alleged thriller, this is one of the most sluggish pieces of cinema of the year, an almost completely inert slog through scene after flabby scene of people talking about a plot instead of actually giving us one. Clunky direction facilitates some lazy performances and the occasional rather tepid action beat and, just like the major flaw of the second part, Salander and Blomkvist share almost no scenes. Considering the weakness of the final two films, the best thing now might be to view the terrific Dragon Tattoo as a standalone movie.