The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (film)

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (film).jpg
Swedish release poster
Directed by Daniel Alfredson
Produced by Soren Staermose
Jon Mankell
Screenplay by Ulf Rydberg
Jonas Frykberg
Based on The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Starring Noomi Rapace
Michael Nyqvist
Music by Jacob Groth
Cinematography Peter Mokrosinski
Edited by Mattias Morheden
Distributed by Zodiak Entertainment
Release date
  • 27 November 2009 (2009-11-27)
Running time
147 minutes
Country Sweden
Language Swedish
Budget $5.3 million
Box office $43.5 million[1]

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Swedish: Luftslottet som sprängdes = English: The Air Castle that Exploded) is a 2009 Swedish drama thriller film directed by Daniel Alfredson. It is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by the late Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson, the third and final entry in his Millennium series. The film was also the last film for veteran actor Per Oscarsson, who died in a house fire on 31 December 2010.


The film begins at the conclusion of the The Girl Who Played with Fire. Salander is airlifted to a hospital in Gothenburg, to recover from gunshot wounds inflicted by her father, Zala. She is cared for by Dr. Anders Jonasson, who prevents anyone except Annika Giannini, her lawyer, from visiting.

At the same time, Evert Gullberg and Fredrik Clinton, old colleagues from the "Section," a group within the Swedish Security Service, reconnect and decide that they must silence Zalachenko (a Soviet defector) and Salander to preserve cold-war secrets. Zalachenko is still alive, in a hospital room down the hall from Salander. Gullberg arrives at the hospital at the same time as Giannini, proceeds to Zalachenko's room, and shoots him dead. Giannini saves Salander by barricading the door to Salander's room. Gullberg, unable to reach Salander, shoots himself. Clinton visits psychiatrist Dr. Peter Teleborian, and explains his plan to silence Salander by having her committed to St. Stephen's mental hospital again. Dr. Teleborian tries to meet with Salander to conduct a psychological evaluation, but is obstructed by her doctor, Dr. Jonasson.

Blomkvist persuades Dr. Jonasson to sneak an internet phone (a Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 in the film) into Salander's room, whereupon Salander immediately contacts her fellow hacker, Plague, to see if he can find something on Dr. Teleborian. She then tells Blomkvist that Giannini has permission to use a video showing Nils Bjurman in the act of raping her. Bjurman was her state-appointed guardian and one of the people she is accused of murdering. Blomkvist compels a civil servant, Bertil Janeryd, to reveal that Gullberg and Rottinger had visited the Prime Minister years ago to urge a cover-up of the Zalachenko affair.

Salander starts working on an autobiography to document her actions and motives from childhood to the present. She continues to have nightmares of memories about her time at St. Stephen's, her father and half-brother, and of her two-hour ordeal with Bjurman. Blomkvist continues to pursue Dr. Teleborian with Christer's help. Salander finishes her autobiography and e-mails it to Blomkvist, and Dr. Jonasson informs Lisbeth she cannot remain at the hospital, but must be transferred to prison in a few days. He is surprised that she is not worried about the trial.

Niedermann, who previously tried to kill Salander's best friend Miriam, has remained a fugitive, wanted for killing a police officer. Sonny, of the outlaw motorcycle gang from the previous film, is informed that he was searched, but found clean, and that his friend had sent Niedermann to hide out in his home. There, he finds his brother dead and his girlfriend tied, gagged, and apparently assaulted. She tells him that Niedermann was the culprit, and Sonny vows revenge. Clinton, in dialysis, is given a copy of Salander's autobiography, and is told that none of it can be proven. Meanwhile, Berger has been receiving anonymous e-mail threats, which causes an uproar in the office. In prison, Salander is interrogated by the prosecutor, but says nothing. Giannini is later given Salander's computer and the DVD of her sexual abuse. Niedermann breaks into an abandoned warehouse and kills a bicyclist who happens to be there having his lunch. Dr. Teleborian finally meets with Salander, who again remains silent.

When Berger's bedroom window is smashed, she calls Milton Security. Thanks to surveillance by Milton Security, Blomkvist learns that someone that night broke into his apartment and planted cocaine and cash there. He concludes that the Section are trying to frame him, since they cannot hurt the Millennium magazine itself. Blomkvist decides to meet Berger at a restaurant named "Samir's Gryta." The police try to warn Berger of an attempt to kill them there, and Blomkvist fends off the assault as the police rush to the restaurant. The Section becomes dismayed upon learning of the failed attempt.

On the day of her murder trial, Salander finally sheds her hospital-patient persona and enters court with piercings, a mohawk hairstyle, black makeup, and expensive black leather clothing. Called as an expert witness for the prosecution, Dr. Teleborian characterizes Salander's autobiography as merely the product of her paranoid delusions. Giannini gradually demolishes Dr. Teleborian's credibility, using Salander's words and files from the hospital. She shows the video proving Bjurman raped Salander.

As Giannini presents her case, the police arrest the people involved with the Section and seize their place of operation. Called to the stand, Blomkvist shows that Dr. Teleborian had written his final psychiatric evaluation of Salander after being denied access by her doctor. Then Giannini calls Edklinth to the stand, and he states that the opinions were formulated in cooperation with Jonas Sandberg, using his computer as proof. Dr. Teleborian is left speechless. Edklinth tells Dr. Teleborian he is to be arrested on charges of possessing over 8,000 items of child pornography (which Plague had discovered after hacking into his laptop), and his computer is seized as evidence. After Dr. Teleborian is arrested, the court rules that no further need exists for Salander to be held in police custody.

The Millennium staff celebrate their victory, as Erika returns and reconciles with Mikael. Salander is encouraged by Giannini to check the property she has inherited from Zala and discovers the warehouse where Niedermann was hiding. Niedermann attempts to trap her there and kill her, but she is too fast and clever for that. She ambushes him with a nail gun and attaches Niedermann's feet to the wooden platform on which he is standing. His inability to feel pain finally works against him. By the time he realizes what is happening, it is too late for him to escape. She considers nailing him in the head, but instead phones Sonny and tells the bikers where to find him. Then she calls the police.

Salander returns home, and Blomkvist briefly visits to tell her that the motorcycle gang killed Niedermann and were arrested at the warehouse afterwards. Lisbeth and Mikael have a brief conversation that might or might not be a prelude to a further relationship.



The film was released in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark on 29 November 2009, and in Finland and Iceland in January 2010.[2] The film was subsequently released in other European countries throughout the spring and summer of 2010. The film opened the Scottsdale (Arizona) International Film Festival on 1 October 2010,[3] and was screened on 13 October 2010 at the Mill Valley (California) Film Festival;[4] the film then had a limited release in United States and Canadian theaters beginning 29 October 2010.[2]


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 53% based on 125 reviews, with an average score of 5.8/10, the consensus being, "Slow and mostly devoid of the stellar chemistry between its two leads, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is a disappointingly uneven conclusion to the Millennium trilogy."[5]

Despite the low rating, the film did receive positive reviews from such noteworthy critics as Peter Travers, James Berardinelli, and Roger Ebert,[6] who gave the film three out of four stars, stating, "These are all very well-made films. Like most European films, they have adults who are grown-ups, not arrested adolescents. Mikael and Erika, his boss and lover, have earned the lines in their faces, and don't act like reckless action heroes. They make their danger feel so real to us that we realize the heroes of many action movies don't really believe they're in any danger at all."[7]

Reviewing the original Swedish version in national daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Jan Söderqvist is dismissive of the thin plot: his article is titled 'No, it doesn't last the distance', and laments that "the whole responsibility for carrying this grandiose production rests on Lisbeth Salander's slender shoulders".[8] But Söderqvist remains enthusiastic about Rapace and her character, Lisbeth Salander: "Salander is, on the other hand, undeniably an original and fascinating character, full of possibilities and secrets, and if Noomi Rapace builds an international acting career on these three films I have nothing to say against it."[8] Söderqvist continues: "There is an enticing darkness in her glance and a brittle hardness about her defences that more than matches her tattoos."[8]

Maaret Koskinen, reviewing the film in Sweden's national daily Dagens Nyheter, found it a pity "that the subsequent Millennium films dribble away a given golden opportunity" and "devalue an unprecedented accumulation of popular cultural capital."[9] All that remains in the third section, writes Koskinen, is a skeleton (of the book's power). Besides, she notes, "one sees Noomi Rapace far too little."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Release dates for "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest"". IMDB. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "10/1-5: Scottsdale International Film Festival". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Swedish films at the Mill Valley Film Festival". Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Top Critics)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (27 October 2010). "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Söderqvist, Jan (26 November 2009). "Svenska Dagbladet: Kultur: Drama". Nej, det håller inte hela vägen. Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Koskinen, Maaret (16 December 2009). "Filmrecensioner vecka 48 2009". Filmrecension: ”Luftslottet som sprängdes” (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 

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