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The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

By Patrick Samuel • January 6th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (MOVIE)
Zodiak Entertainment

Original release: September18th, 2009
Running time: 80 129 minutes

Country of origin: Sweden
Original language: Swedish

Director: Daniel Alfredson
Writers: Ulf Rydberg, Stieg Larsson

Cast: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Justice and judgement is as important in our daily lives as it is in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, starting with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. His main character, the now-iconic Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Repace), who having suffered at the hands of her abusive father and then the sadistic guardian and lawyer Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson) goes on to help investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) unravel the decades old mystery of the disappearance of a young woman on behalf of her elderly and immensely wealthy uncle.

It’s in this first story we catch more than a glimpse of how these themes are dealt with and in the process it also helps us reflect on instances when justice has either been served or been evaded. The film also explores gender issues and we see how women are victimised by opposite sex and how the mental health system and the media allow for these crimes and subsequent cover-ups to go undetected.

With its follow-up, The Girl Who Played With Fire, we see Lisbeth and Blomkvist teaming up once again but this time to bring down a sex trafficking ring, further shedding light on these complex and intertwined themes. Blomkvist has now returned to work with the Millennium magazine after serving his time in prison. Dag Svensson (Hans Christian Thulin), a young journalist who’s been working on a sex trafficking story together with his girlfriend Mia Bergman (Jennie Silfverhjelm), presents it to the Millennium team who then decide to hire him as a freelancer and they begin working on it with the aim to publish it in the magazine. The story is highly sensitive though and they still need to interview several key figures, including those in high office, to give them a chance to comment on the allegations of abuse against underage girls.
The Girl Who Played With Fire

Lisbeth has just returned to Sweden after travelling around the world. As she settles into a new home and keeps track of Blomkvist’s new story via his hard drive, she still remains a distant figure in his personal life. It’s not long before she is drawn into the story and an ensuing investigation when Dag and Mia are murdered in their home with a gun bearing her fingerprints. The gun belongs to none other than Bjurma. When Bjurma is also found murdered, the only one who believes in her innocence is Blomkvist, but he’s unable to find her.

Delving deeper and deeper into Lisbeth’s past, Blomkvist discovers some shocking details that tie her to Dag’s sex trafficking story. As he tries to find her and help clear her name, Lisbeth is intent on bringing down the culprits with her own brand of justice.

Fraught with suspense, tension and nail biting twists and turns, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a well made thriller that keeps us rooting for Lisbeth Salander from start to finish with Noomi Repace delivering another stand-out The Girl Who Played With Fireperformance as the troubled hero. As she confronts her demons, both physically and mentally, we’re left asking “how much more can she take?”

Aside from Repace, there are outstanding performances including Peter Andersson as the slimy corrupt lawyer Nils Bjurma and Yasmine Garbi as Miriam Wu, Lisbeth’s friend who tries to protect her. Alfredson’s direction remains tight and gives us both a gritty and picturesque view of Sweden, but the cinematography lacks what Niels Arden Oplev was able to bring to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo with Eric Kress Jens Fischer who were behind the lense for that film.

Yet as we see justice and judgement coming into play in this story we have to also ask what is it in society that breeds these monsters? Even as we read and watch the recent news reports about the New Delhi woman who was gang raped and brutally beaten on a moving bus, and who later died form her injuries, we continue to see these gross mishandlings of these victims. We hear of how she lay naked and bleeding on the side of the road with no one stopping to give her some clothes. In real life we don’t read about the Lisbeth Salanders but I’m sure they do exist. While laws are drawn up and trails await it still doesn’t tackle the problem of how and why monsters like her attackers are made and continue to exist.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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