The Girl Who Played with Fire ★★★

Directed by Daniel Alfredson and based on the second book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, this film was originally made for TV as a two-part miniseries. Consequently, the approach and budget are different from those of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", which obviously affects—among other things—the look and feel of the movie.

The plot is more straightforward and more action-oriented but less engaging compared to that of the first installment. Many of the characters, especially the villains, are clichéd and thinly drawn. The film ends somewhat abruptly in a way that leaves several questions unanswered, but the ending cannot be said to be unsatisfying, because the answers will presumably be given in the third and last film in the trilogy.

There are some suspenseful and exciting sequences and one or two moments designed to startle the viewer. The tender, respectfully filmed sex scene between Lisbeth Salander and Miriam Wu shows a different side of Salander; however, it borders on being too drawn out.

Noomi Rapace is perfect as Lisbeth Salander; "The Girl Who Played with Fire" is her movie. Michael Nyqvist gives a relatively solid performance as Mikael Blomkvist. Former professional boxer Paolo Roberto actually does a generally good turn playing himself, and his presence in the film is not too distracting. Mikael Spreitz plays Ronald Niedermann, the most memorable but far from original villain. Peter Andersson’s portrayal of Bjurman is excellent.