Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest

Lowdown: The final episode of the Millennium Trilogy, concluding the story of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Hot on the heels of The Girl Who Played with Fire came The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the final episode of the 2009 Swedish made story that started with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We actually watched it in its mini series incarnation, which meant that this last episode came in the shape of two 90 minutes episodes, but never mind that; the point is that the previous episode was so good we had to watch the whole thing through, and quickly.
Our story starts off exactly where we were left before. The severely injured Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) spends the bulk of this one in hospital, the same hospital that also hosts her severely injured father. While the two recover, a group of now ageing spooks working for a top secret government agency realise Lisbeth's actions could uncover their not so lawful adventures. They thus decide to eliminate the evidence while utilising the hospital's complete lack of security and the police's incompetence. Their attempt brings back journalist Michael (Michael Nyqvist) to the scene, as he attempts to both help Lisbeth make it alive and seal the deal on his human trafficking story. Obviously, the spooks fight back with everything they have; where bullets won't do, power and psychologists might. And there, in the background, also lies the shadow of Lisbeth's brother.
The similarities between Hornets' Nest and the real life spooks of the NSA, GCHQ & Co, as recently exposed by Edward Snowden, is striking. Here is yet another story of a top secret organisation that's using the power it had gathered and the shroud of secrecy around it to perform evil deeds. Often, while watching Hornets' Nest, we asked ourselves whether what we see makes sense; but then we quickly recalled some parallel from the Snowden story to remind ourselves the truth can be astonishingly scary.
Hornets' Nest turns out to be significantly different from Fire (which, on its turn, proved quite different to Dragon Tattoo). Whereas Fire was a very fast developing story unwrapped before our eyes, Hornets' Nest feels more like a John le Carré espionage thriller: slower, more calculated, more mature. There is none of the visceral sex from previous episodes; instead we have ourselves a movie that culminates in a court drama. However, different as the style may be, Hornets' Nest proves just as good and just as thrilling; just differently so.
Which brought me to notice just how great the entire trilogy was. Variety has a lot to do with it: variety in style, in story type, in pace, and even in characters (in the first movie Lisbeth played a relatively minor, supportive, role). Each of the episodes is good on its own, but through the variety the synergy between them the overarching story is amazingly exciting.
That observations concerning the synergy is interesting, because the Millennium Trilogy is a cross between a cinema movie and a TV series. Indeed, it is both at the same time. However, by utilising the best of both worlds it manages to provide a superior product to what we normally get on the big screen. Which, in turn, explains why contemporary TV series have gained the potential to be far superior to movies: through the Internet changing our viewing habits from the dedicated weekly slot to watching any time, any way, the TV series no longer has to entice us to come back next week. Instead, it can focus on quality delivery while making the most of the extra time it got on its hand, when compared to a movie, to provide a better product. Better character development is a fine example.
Write it down as another achievement for the Internet.
Best scene: I really, really, liked the very final scene's encounter. I won't spoil it for you, but I will just say that the awkward encounter portrayed there is so very much me.
Overall: Another 4 out of 5 crabs for this episode in the series. However, when looked upon as a whole, I consider the Millennium Trilogy much better than that; as a whole, I would say it is a 5 crabs affair.

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