With all the hoopla about the penultimate Harry Potter and the third installment of The Chronicles of Narnia, the end of the Steig Larson Millennium Trilogy may have slipped your notice. And that’s too bad since The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest may be the best of the trilogy. Whether you’ve seen the first two, this movie is an entertaining ride on its own.

It begins where the 2nd left off. Lisbeth is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot to the head delivered by her evil father who is in the same hospital put there by Lisbeth herself. As soon as she heals, she’ll be going on trial for his attempted murder. A very shadowy group of government agents who have been conspiring with her father for decades would like her either dead or back in the mental institution they had her in as a child so she can’t reveal all the secrets she knows about them.

Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and Lisbeth’s only true friend, is planning to publish an issue of his magazine Millennium devoted entirely to this “secret agency” and their decades long abuse of Lisbeth and the system. Of course, these guys don’t want him to get the goods on them either, so there is plenty of espionage, assassination attempts, some very timely computer hacking, and lots of suspense as he gets closer and closer to his quarry. Along the way he even teams up with some people in the government who want to root out the secret agency that is so underground even the Prime Minister doesn’t know about it.

Mikael races against the clock to get the magazine published by the time Lisbeth’s murder trial comes up. And the information he uncovers proves essential to her case. The third act court room drama is extremely taut and emotionally involving. Noomi Rapace who plays Lisbeth has very limited dialogue in this film despite being on camera a good deal of time, but her expressions speak volumes and this is by far her most accomplished role yet.

I am sad that there are just the three films, but happy that they have been so successful that they’re already being remade in America, the first of which is to be directed by David Fincher and star Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. I’d recommend seeing the originals before the American versions come out. After all, the story takes place in Sweden and the sensibilities are Swedish. And they happen to have a very fine cast. See it in a theater if you can, or buy/rent all three. Be sure to grab a bottle of Akvavit and some Gravlax and ha kul!

Read the books and watch the whole series!

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