Top positive review
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A very good sequel that only just falls short of 'Dragon Tattoo's genius
on 6 March 2011
Lisbeth and Mikael are back, as the titular 'girl' and journalist Mikael Blomkvist respectively, although they spend almost the entire film apart. As someone who hasn't read the books, I'm unaware of how faithful that is, so I'll just address the film as a sequel to the last movie. 'Dragon Tattoo' stood out for me as having a searingly intense and brave storyline for the hacker Lisbeth, and a challenging 'everyman' plot for Blomkvist, and while the shocks and abuse are slightly less for Lisbeth this time around, the story is a cleverly wrought idea centering around a new journalist's investigation into sex-slavery. Just as the story is about to go public, all hell breaks loose. Lisbeth finds herself on the run (not good for a girl with a distinct lack of social skills) and Blomkvist finds himself in an uphill batle to try to catch a determined bunch of criminals who have a lot to hide. There are some good villains this time around, mainly showcased by Mikael Spreitz as a towering blonde wall of muscle with a good line in menace and a nicely twisted nerve disorder.
The story is terrifically told, having just the right feeling to it. It never races like its more frantic American cousins of this type, but the plot proceeds sensibly and largely believably from one revelation to the next - most of them well worth the wait - until the film's sudden explosions of credible and exciting violence. The acting is uniformly excellent, and the story is very well directed to its brutal and exciting climax. One of the most startling revelations is gently underplayed with dignity, and once again Noomi Rapace's Lisbeth is essentially what 'the man' role in a Hollywood equivalent would be - uncovering most of the facts and doing most of the action. It all feels very realistic, even if the sex-slavery issue is largely skimmed past, and barring a slightly credulity-stretching revelation and 'hero moment' near the end, fantastically designed. It's also has an extremely realistic 'against the odds' feeling to the ending, and sets up the possibilities for the third and final film in a highly satisfying manner.