Who could have foreseen that a series of posthumously published Swedish mystery thrillers centered around a borderline insane, kickboxing, bisexual, computer-hacking super genius street punk running around Stockholm solving sex crimes would become one of the biggest literary and cinematic franchises of the decade?
But the late Stieg Larrsson’s Millennium Trilogy and their juggernaut film adaptations have accomplished just such a feat. Scandinavian entertainment that North Americans are going gaga for in all their media incarnations.
This week, the middle chapter of the series, The Girl Who Played With Fire opens in select North American cities. And, although there’s a new director on board for this installment, the film’s central character, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), remains one of the silver screen’s most arresting female presences.
“Lisbeth is a magnificent creature,” says Fire director Daniel Alfredson. “She’s both human and superhuman. She does things we wish we could do at the worst of times, but she’s also vulnerable.”
Fire sees Lisbeth back in action one year after the events of the first film. Reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) still pines for his former lover and partner, and — when she’s framed for a rash of murders — it’s up to Blomkvist to rescue his damsel. Though, with her lethal abilities, she does a good job fending for herself.