A review of “The Girl Who Played with Fire”

It’s always a pleasant surprise when straight men write really likable and realistic queer female characters. And Stieg Larsson‘s ability to create a great character like Lisbeth Salander paired with director Daniel Alfredson‘s ability to transition her from the novels to the screen have created a franchise that is not only an international success, but also a breath of fresh air for gay women who long to see themselves accurately represented in pop culture.

While not all of us are hackers with multiple piercings and penchants for spending our lives in general isolation, we can still appreciate a character who is unafraid of her sexuality and is both mentally and physically tough.

That is exactly who Lisbeth is, and Noomi Rapace plays her so perfectly that it’s impossible not to get sucked into thinking you’re alongside her in Sweden or wherever else the movie’s mystery takes her.

In The Girl Who Played with Fire, there’s much more of Lisbeth. Unfortunately, it’s because she’s a murder suspect, so she has to hide out, escaping police and those who aim to frame or kill her — whichever is easiest to execute first.

When the film opens, Lisbeth has been traveling around the world for about a year. She’s only just returned home after learning that her guardian is being asked for some of Lisbeth’s files. Since she’s a master hacker, she keeps tabs on him and makes sure to pay him a visit (reminding him that she knows exactly what he’s up to at all times). She is able to get her point across with some harsh words and a gun pointed at his head.

But when he ends up dead in his bed, along with a reporter and his girlfriend (who is working on a big story about sex trafficking), Lisbeth is framed for the murders. The reporter had worked for Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist), Lisbeth’s friend/sometimes lover from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. He knows Lisbeth had nothing to do with the murders, but her prints are on the gun, which was owned by her guardian. Thus begins Mikael’s attempt to clear Lisbeth’s name as she tries to find who wants to have her put away.