Even though I’m a Millennium Trilogy fan, even though Lisbeth is my 2010 female model on how to handle misbehaved men, even though I was thoroughly riveted by the Swedish film version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and even though I will still see the Swedish version of “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” I am not recommending it.
The noir thriller trailer and cuts show a violent, fast-paced and disturbing film. But that’s not the problem.
The book publishers say this film ruthlessly attacks the concept of hypocrisy in all its forms. And that’s a good thing.
“The Girl Who Played with Fire” takes right off from where the story left off in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The cast is the same … but the crew is not.
That is the problem. The new director and writers in this series rushed to get a product out for European TV syndication to follow the popularity of “Tattoo.” Gone are the subtleties, innuendos and mystery. You can tell in the trailer and the cuts that the art is missing.
You could call me a Stieg Larsson expert and purist by this point. I’ve read everything about his partner, his family, his life and his career in the investigative reporting business that I can find. I’ve participated in forums on his books and written for IJM on his first book and film.
So after checking out all of the trailers and cuts for “Fire,” it is with some amount of certainty that even though, Eva Gabrielsson, Larsson’s domestic partner for 30 years, admits that he included the sex angles in his books to help them sell, I believe he would disdain the erotic, graphic sex scene that is fabricated in this production and the capitalization on hard violence.
Please note that this second work in the trilogy is not written or directed by the same crew that did such a great job with “Tattoo.” That screenplay, written by Arcel and Heisterberg and directed by Niels Oplev was loyal to the spirit and plot of the Stieg Larsson novel. But the trailers and even the poster put out to advertize “Fire,” (directed by Daniel Alfredson with screenplay by Jonas Frykberg) are not in the same kind of sync with the book I read or what I have perceived Larsson’s intent – to expose racial and gender bias and its influence promoting pervasive corruption and evil in every facet of society.
For those American Larsson fans out there who have been waiting for the US distribution of “The Girl who Played with Fire” (all of Europe got to see it last year), it is scheduled to be released this summer. The trailer and cuts promise a fast-paced, intense, violent, dark movie. The Motion Picture of America rating may restrict American viewing preferences through its rating system if there aren’t some cuts, particularly with the explicit sex, but those who have read the book will not be able to resist going.
At the very least seeing this version of “Fire” will be interesting to compare to a potential US rendition. The first of a possible three-film deal in the Millennium Trilogy, beginning with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” is scheduled to begin in production this fall.
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Jonas Frykberg (screenplay) Stieg Larsson (novel)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Mikael Nygvist and Lena Endre
European Release: September 2009
UK Release: Aug. 27, 2010
US Release: July 2, 2010 in seven theatres in NYC and Chicago.
July 9 to 16, at selected theatres: http://dragontattoofilm.com/coming-soon/the-girl-who-played-with-fire/
. . .
Follow It’s Just Movies on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ItsJustMovies.