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Lisbeth Salander is a wanted woman. A researcher and a Millennium journalist about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and violent behavior makes her an official danger to society. Mikael Bloomkvist, Salander's friend and Millennium's plublisher is alone in his belief of Salander's innocence. Digging deeper Bloomkvist unearths evidence implicating highly placed members of Swedish Society-as well as shocking details about Salander's past. He is desperate to get to her before she is cornered-but no one can find her anywhere.
The toughest chick in Sweden returns to action in The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second film adaptation of the late author Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy novels. That would be Lisbeth Salander, once again played with quiet, feral intensity by Noomi Rapace. As Larsson's readers and anyone who saw the first film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, also released in 2010 knows, Lisbeth is small in stature but big trouble for any man who crosses her--after all, this is the woman who set her father on fire after he abused her mother and later, after being released from a mental institution, took extreme revenge on her legal guardian after he brutally assaulted her those scenes are briefly revisited for the enlightenment of those who missed the earlier film. Also back is investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist Michael Nyqvist, Lisbeth's erstwhile lover and partner in solving the Dragon Tattoo mystery. When two of his young colleagues are killed while at work on a story about sex trafficking, followed shortly by the murder of the aforementioned guardian, Salander is the prime suspect. But Mikael is sure of her innocence; in fact, he's convinced she's the next victim, leading to a tangled tale in which Lisbeth learns more about her family and its very dark secrets than she ever wanted to know. The story is compelling, if a bit slow to take shape, and director Daniel Alfredson, taking over for Niels Arden Oplev, skillfully sustains the mystery and tension there are also doses of nudity and violence, the latter much more graphic than the former. But Lisbeth isn't on screen nearly as much this time, and her relationship with Blomkvist, so central to Dragon Tattoo, is almost an afterthought. Still, The Girl Who Played with Fire will certainly whet fans' appetites for the next installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest; and considering the overall class and quality of these Swedish productions, one shudders to think how they'll turn out in the inevitable American versions, the first of which is due in 2011, with Daniel Craig as Blomkvist. --Sam Graham