The Girl Who Played with Fire

Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35

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Critic Reviews

  1. Though the thriller is in the hands of a different filmmaking team this time led by Swedish director Daniel Alfredson and screenwriter Jonas Frykberg, they've kept the searing intelligence and ruthless bent.
  2. Noir never has been this dark.
  3. The actress gets immeasurable help from the writing: Lisbeth's anger is matched by her intelligence and her physical prowess, which enables her to administer as well as absorb pain in megadoses. But none of it would register without Ms. Rapace's singular combination of eerie beauty and feral intensity. She's a movie star unlike any other.
  4. 88
    The Girl Who Played With Fire is very good, but a step down from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," if only because that film and its casting were so fresh and unexpected.
  5. 88
    Yes, it's pretty much a must to have seen the first film. Where Dragon Tattoo felt like fall, Played with Fire was shot in the Swedish summer, which suits the faster pace, ramped up violence and fresh collection of supporting players -- cops, a kickboxer, and a couple of borderline Bond villains.
  6. 88
    A firecracker of a story - sharply written, superbly acted, and fast-paced.
  7. I found The Girl Who Played With Fire more gripping than "Dragon Tattoo," because this one doesn't just play with thriller conventions -- it puts them to work.
  8. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    80
    Like most second parts of trilogies, this movie is more or less all middle.
  9. 75
    The story is far from finished; the film can't help but feel like a bridge to its end. But the power of that partnership forged in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" remains strong.
  10. 75
    Relentless suspense allows The Girl Who Played With Fire to hold you in a viselike grip. But it's the performances of Nyqvist and especially Rapace that keep you coming back for more.
  11. At its simplest, "Fire" tells of Mikael's efforts to exonerate Lisbeth. At its most baroque, it explores a vast web of sex trafficking and deep-rooted conspiracy that goes back decades and touches on Lisbeth's inflammatory background.
  12. 75
    It's a welcome chance to learn more about Lisbeth Salander, the kinky, punk hacker and pop culture phenom played by Noomi Rapace.
  13. This is no-nonsense, let's-get-to-it business, and will probably be less satisfying, and less clear, to viewers unfamiliar with the source material.
  14. Director Daniel Alfredson grounds the mystery in a real sense of place: his Stockholm looks and feels like a major city where corruption lurks behind attractive facades. The reporter character is better developed than in the first movie, but most of the supporting characters from the book have been shrunk to little more than walk-ons.
  15. 70
    There's way too much plot here getting in the way of the story, which makes it tough for Alfredson and cinematographer Peter Mokrosinski to focus on the series' strongest elements. Of course it's the character of Lisbeth that has made these books and movies into a worldwide phenomenon.
  16. 70
    Ms. Rapace, tiny and agile, her steely rage showing now and then the tiniest crack of vulnerability, belongs to another dimension altogether. She makes this movie good enough, but also makes you wish it were much better.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    In Rapace, it has an actress who brings a memorable literary character to indelible movie life, as Vivien Leigh did for Scarlett O'Hara.
  18. 70
    Stripped of Larsson's social/political minutiae and slimmed down to its thriller chassis, certain clich├ęs become more glaring: Lisbeth's superhuman hacking skills, overfamiliar from a zillion TV procedurals; an exploitative lesbian sex scene that mightn't have pleased the feminist Larsson; the secondary villain, a blond giant incapable of feeling pain--gah!; and the too-comfy manner in which the twin narratives finally interlace.
  19. Resembles nothing so much as a workmanlike TV crime thriller.
  20. 67
    A solid, twisting, well-acted mystery, but it strains credulity at times, and its ultimate revelations are unsurprising and, when you think back on the whole film, confusing. It also lacks a distinctive atmosphere, shot in an almost TV-style flatness.
  21. 65
    Suspenseful in a few places and absurd in plenty of others; if she were a real person, Lisbeth Salander herself would have no patience with it.
  22. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Whenever The Girl Who Played With Fire threatens to stall, Lisbeth whips out her Taser and tortures another sleazy, abusive man into vomiting forth his dirty secrets. In Sweden, I believe they call this "light entertainment.''
  23. The second film lingers less determinedly on the degradation of Lisbeth and concentrates more on moving the narrative furniture around. The relationship between the main characters is the glue holding the balsa wood together.
  24. A passable popcorn movie, but fans of the first film who expect lightning to strike twice are liable to get burned.
  25. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The villains are so extreme that they come off like sleazy caricatures. This accentuates the nuanced skill of the two lead performances, but it undercuts the overall effect of this well-constructed, if occasionally flat, pulp thriller.
  26. All too often, the second movie of a trilogy is a bridge. ("The Matrix Reloaded," anyone?) As often as not, it feels more like the first half of the last movie than a film in its own right. The Girl Who Played With Fire is no exception.
  27. In any case, The Girl Who Played with Fire works well as a stand-alone feature, though it's more fun if you've seen the first film.
  28. Those who've read and loved the book should be satisfied, but it's reasonable to hope for more from the final entry.
  29. 60
    Despite the lethal force that inevitably gets applied to poor Lisbeth, we never really fear for her safety, but we do fear for her future happiness. That is where the real drama lies.
  30. Though play with fire she might, couldn't screenwriter Jonas Frykberg have played with a little button called DELETE? There's no reason why a two-hour movie should feel like three, nor require quite so much fidelity to Larsson's plot curlicues.
  31. The Girl Who Played With Fire's chief frustration is in how removed Salander and Blomkvist are from each other.
  32. It's refreshing to have a movie assume that its viewers are also readers, yet this one takes that assumption to testing lengths. To those fearful of flunking the test, my advice is simple: Bring along the book as your cheat-sheet.
  33. 50
    More disappointingly, the entire cast seems less committed than they were the first time out.
  34. Reviewed by: Boyd Van Hoeij
    50
    This subpar Nordic crimer, leaves ample room for improvement for the inevitable U.S. remake.
  35. 25
    Almost without exception, the men are either sickening deviants or wise mentors while the ladies tend to be kickboxing hipsters or victims of sexual abuse (many are both).
User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Feb 21, 2011
    7
    Second part of Stieg Larsson's "Girl Who" trilogy.
    Not as good sequel to the brilliant first film but once again great casting & well acted &
    Second part of Stieg Larsson's "Girl Who" trilogy.
    Not as good sequel to the brilliant first film but once again great casting & well acted & Noomi Rapace is outstanding.
    It's beautifully shot once again & one or two wincing moments but nowhere near as dark & mysterious as the first film.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 4, 2010
    8
    This trilogy is a really good one. I love the girl with the dragon tattoo. I think both are just great and I can't Decide which movie isThis trilogy is a really good one. I love the girl with the dragon tattoo. I think both are just great and I can't Decide which movie is better. I don't Like reading subs a=because reading subs are just like reading a book but I didn't mind reading it for this movie. I think this is one of the year best film. I can't wait until the usa version is made. I hope they make it just like this one or better. Full Review »
  3. Nov 5, 2010
    8
    Ever since I read the infamous "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" I have been hooked on this amazing trilogy. Overall I give the film a positiveEver since I read the infamous "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" I have been hooked on this amazing trilogy. Overall I give the film a positive review (aside from the tacky dubbed English version) there's something noteworthy to be said about the acting and the action-packed special effects. Those unfamiliar with the series or the first film may have trouble following along at first, but I'm confident that this will appeal to almost anyone that doesn't mind subtitles. Full Review »