I just sat through the Swedish film version of Stieg Larsson’s third novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, which is due out in U.S. theaters next month. I thought it was outstanding--the most difficult to condense, and yet the most fully formed and exciting of the three movies made from Larsson’s posthumously published bestsellers.
The cast is once again perfect, from Nooni Rapace’s touching and savage portrayal of Lis Salander and Michael Nyqvist’s gentle but surprisingly muscular Mikael Blomkvist, to Annika Hallin as Blomkvist’s brilliant lawyer sister. Lisa Endre as Blomkvist’s lover and publishing partner, Erika, suffers the most from the novel-to-film cutting (I won’t drop any spoilers here, but I will say that an extra dimension of her part in the book has been left out of the film).
And the villains are spectacular, mostly because they look like ordinary Swedish civil servants rather than members of a secret right-wing faction of the government. Only Georgi Staykov, as Zalachenko, and the unkillable Micke Spreitz, as Niedermann, offer a nasty glare of evil. And Anders Ahlbom Rosendahl, who plays the vicious psychotherapist intent on locking Salander away for life (until he is reduced to babbling by Lis’ lawyer), is especially despicable.
This interpretation of Hornet’s Nest was directed with great style and a modicum of restraint by Daniel Alfredson and written by Jonas Rykerberg and Ulf Ryberg; Alfredson and Rykerberg also worked on The Girl Who Played with Fire, which shows how many talented people there are in the newly bustling Swedish film industry.
Who knows what the Hollywood film versions of Larsson’s novels will be like. Daniel Craig is a strong choice to play Blomkvist, but as for the others ... You might not want to miss these excellent Swedish adaptations, while they’re still playing on big screens.
Meanwhile, as you probably learned by watching this last weekend’s CBS Sunday Morning program, there is the tantalizing promise of a fourth (or is it the fifth?) Larsson manuscript ready to roll, as soon as the late author’s squabbling heirs can come to some agreement on its publication.