Sequel uses grit, fire to hold audience

“The Girl Who Played with Fire,” based off of the second book in Stieg Larsson’s bestselling trilogy, is the sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The film continues to follow the story of Lisbeth Salander, the skilled computer hacker with a mysterious, dark past and a knack for investigation. Where “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” followed Salander help famous journalist Mikael Blomkvist solve the cold case of a teenage girl who disappeared many years ago, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” focuses on sex trafficking and a string of murders for which Salander is a prime suspect. Unwilling to believe that Salander is responsible, Blomkvist sets out to find the real killer. Compared to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played with Fire” has more the feeling of an action movie, with a number of fight scenes and chases that are typical to the genre. Salander, once again, proves that her tiny stature is misleading as she beats up bikers and ties up a man involved in the sex trafficking, threatening to electrocute him. Filmed in Swedish and played with English subtitles, “The Girl Who Played with Fire” has the distinct feeling of a foreign film. Visually, the setting has a lot to do with this. Ranging from the city of Stockholm to the countryside to an abandoned warehouse, the movie features lots of grays and neutral colors that one might expect of Northern Europe. The film also feels grittier than most American movies do, with a couple of pretty graphic sex scenes and a decidedly dark tone overall. Then again, that grittiness may have to do with the intensity of the story itself. Perhaps this will become clear when the American version of the film is released in 2011. Sony Pictures has acquired the rights to make an American version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The books have been wildly popular in the United States — you could have found at least one or two people reading “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” on North Beach on any given day this past summer — so there’s certainly an audience, but it should be interesting to see if the American movie will be successful. The Swedish films have been done so well, sticking incredibly close to the books and starring talented newcomer Noomi Rapace as Salander, which begs the question of whether or not Americanized version of the first film, released so shortly after, can measure up. Can the integrity of the story remain intact when Hollywood puts American actors speaking English in Sweden pretending to be Swedish? The role of Salander has yet to be cast for the American film; Rapace took herself out of the running for the role. Daniel Craig is set to play Blomkvist in the American film. “The Girl Who Played with Fire” is currently showing at Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas in downtown Burlington.