The Girl Who Played With Fire is weaker than the first film in the series, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. It was okay for me because I sat in the theater analyzing what was omitted or changed from the novel and why the filmmakers made those choices – so I had plenty of things to keep my mind racing during the film – but it’s always a bad sign for the film when the viewer is able to sit and think about other things during the screening!
It’s still sort of interesting to see the locations in Sweden and see how actors cast to play certain parts were chosen, but the film is very so-so.
Maybe that’s not surprising. While I think comparing films and books is “apples to oranges,” taken separately, I thought the novel is just so-so, too. The difference is that the novel has all these layers of detail that keep the reader going to see what will happen and how author Stieg Larsson is going to take you there. For all the plot twists and the embedded pro-feminist ideas (that naturally I appreciate), it’s pretty forgettable book.
Sometimes strong films are made from lesser literary sources – Hitchcock, for one, did that regularly – but this time I’d say The Girl Who Played With Fire is pretty much average in its separate forms. Not a ringing endorsement for the film, but if you have nothing better to do when it arrives, you might enjoy the scenery.