The Girl Who Played With Fire

Rated 3.0

This is the middle segment in the trilogy of films adapted from Stieg Larsson’s Millenium crime-novel series. Title character and talismanic anti-heroine Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is of course back for more action, both as femme-punk avenger of abused women and freelance computer-hacking detective. And so is Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), crusading investigative journalist and occasional (but always opportune) collaborator, lover, aide and protector to Salander. This segment takes up a new case involving the murders of two researchers who are on the trail of further corruption among Sweden’s patriarchal power elite, this time in the form of the sex-slave black market. And Salander continues on with some of the unfinished personal business from the Dragon Tattoo segment, especially that pertaining to her abusive parole officer/guardian Bjurman, but also to a couple of key figures from her own fiery past and childhood in particular. Even with its transitional middle-ground status, this segment makes a better case for itself as pungently muckraking entertainment than did its predecessor. Rapace is once again a ferociously indelible presence as Salander, and Fire also has the benefit of a set of secondary characters who take somewhat livelier form this time around. Pageant Theatre. Not rated