After the slightly lackluster previous installment (The girl who played with fire), my hopes were high that 'The girl who kicked the hornet's nest' would redeem the Millennium trilogy. Luckily, my optimism played off in spades as the series' conlusion proves not only to be an excellent final act, but a riveting wrap-up of what has conspired since we first met Lisbeth, Micke and the rest of the Millennium team.
The hornet's nest takes off moments after the previous film's events, with both the main protagonist and antagonist in critical condition. With even more baddies scheming in the background, the situation seems the most dire it has ever been (this is quite a statement in a series where the protagonist has had her fair share of misencounters). Nonetheless, Lisbeth remains admiringly determined to overcome her circumstances as she steadily fights her way back to health.
Special mention must be made to Noomi Rapace's performance, which is the most poignant it has ever been. Even though Lisbeth utters nothing more than a few lines of dialogue through the course of the film, she acts as the film's main emotional connection as she portrays her feelings superbly by means of extremeley expressive facial cues and her revealing body language.
"the situation seems the most dire it has ever been – this is quite a statement in a series where the protagonist has had her fair share of misencounters"
The rest of the ensemble cast are once again nothing less than superb, with the Millennium editorial staff doing their best to get to the truth, as they gradually expose a secret government organisation. The team's search for truth quickly becomes central to the story, as viewers will find themselves unable not to root for a positive resolution to the characters' dire circumstances. But even at the film's most optimistic moments, there still exists a sense of sombre disposition, a trademark of the series since the first segment of the series.
The Hornet's greatest accomplishment however is its powerful thread of tension and suspense, lovingly spun by director Daniel Alfredson as the story starts to heat up considerably. This results in some excellent action sequences that play out with great impact, adding to the thick layer of tension that builds up to a glorious, but subtle climax.
An extremely honest and abrupt ending comes highly welcomed, as it fits in perfectly with the expectations created by the series thus far. The lack of resolution between Micke and Lisbeth might be a bit disheartening, but manages to give the series that final sense of mystery – almost as if these two still have a mutual path to complete.
|Lisbeth once again wears her 'war paint' proudly, as she confronts those who have wronged her.|
Highlight: Lisbeth's court case near the end of the film is beautifully realised, acting as a type of synopsis for the series. Lisbeth finally achieves redemption as the painful truth behind her past comes to light. Lisbeth's sense of relief resonates, resulting in the biggest emotional release since Lisbeth was first introduced to audience members.
Rating: 4 Meerkat Tails
* Choosing the best film in the Millennium trilogy comes down to a choice between the first film's novelty value and the last films emotional impact. The tie-breaker, namely the technical excellence of each film however puts 'The girl with the dragon tattoo' firmly in first place, with the Hornet's nest second and the 'The girl who played with fire' in third position.
Overall Series rating: 4 Meerkat Tails