The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

The Girl Who…Oh Forget it Already


Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist

By Robert Patrick

“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” sounds like a title that would come out of a random name generator. Personally, I think “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire” aren’t much better. Better titles for the series would include “Perverse Old Men Against Computer Hacker” or “Watching Protagonists Read E-Mails”. The series revolves around Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), a 27-year-old computer hacker whose style choices mirror that of a young Exene Cervenka. The last two installments see a myriad of unfortunate things trouble our stud-belted siren, this time around, however, Lisbeth isn’t on the run – she is in a hospital bed! Be prepared to watch Lisbeth writhe around in bed, restively, when she isn’t eating pizza. Watch Lisbeth send messages to a Gmail account after she speaks with her doctor. Watch Lisbeth stretch her muscles during rehabilitation. This is the best thing I have ever seen on Discovery Health!

These films fall into the neo-genre of “Exponentially Uninteresting Dialogue”, which has overshadowed the obligatory monikers of “drama” or “foreign”, that a trilogy of this caliber would generally be associated with. There are so many characters, saying so many things, in so many boorish ways, that everything runs together – I might as well be listening to the rudder of a boat after awhile. But this film, like the last two installments, is jam-packed with corrupt officials, vacuous sociopaths, and tortured anti-heroes. How can these things not work, in some sort of way, whether it be amusing or semi-entertaining? Well, if you’re the maker of this series, you like your expositions to be about as creative as a community college news bulletin.  There are so many characters in this series – I’m talking to you, interchangeable bad guy #39 – that it’s hard to really differentiate the villains, let alone care about the ever-altering plot of the series, to get heavily involved. The tagline for “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” should be: “Discussions. These Exchanges Will Masticate Your Patience.”

I have never read the late Stieg Larsson’s books, and for all I know he could be a Mecca of literary prowess, but these adaptations make me want to tie a boulder to his catalog of books and dump them in a swamp. To think that David Fincher is going to make an English language remake of this series makes me want to hibernate as a critic for the next decade. If I want to see a political filibuster I will watch CSPAN and not dole out a grip of rubes in the process. Yeah, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” (typing these lengthy titles over and over is going to give me carpel tunnel) isn’t a poorly made film, it only has the pacing of a garden snail.

Here, let me put it this way: 60% of the movie is spent in hospital rooms. The other 40% of the movie is spent with people looking at computer monitors or flip-phones. Maybe there is a small demographic out there that thinks this sort of thing is entertaining – hey, there is a pie chart for everything, right? I should also mention that there is a 6’5” blond dude that crushes things, and has roughly two-lines (Hulk smash!) Yeah, there is no reason to see this movie. Great 2D effects, though!


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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