(2009; Flickan som lekte med elden, Swedish) Who would have thought Sweden could be so wicked? The second of director Daniel Alfredson's adaptations (screenplay by Jonas Frykberg) of Stieg Larsson's fictional thrillers of the late author's Millennium trilogy has computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), with a large dragon tattoo on her back, taking revenge on the second of the tormentors from her past.
At her mother's graveside she whispers, by way of apology: "I should have done it a long time ago." Her emotional detachment is a result of having Asperger's disorder; returning after an 18-month absence, her relationship with her lesbian lover Miriam Wu (Yasmine Garbi) is largely physical.
After she pays another visit to her legal guardian, the lawyer Nils Bjurman (Peter Andersson), threatening him with exposure from a DVD of his brutally raping her if he does not provide positive monthly reports of her conduct (having been earlier declared legally incompetent) to the authorities, he hires gangster "Zala" - Alexander Zalachenko (Georgi Staykov) - to have her assassinated.
Over at the Millennium magazine's office, journalist Dag Svensson offers documentation from his research, including his criminologist girlfriend Mia Bergman's photographs of underage female victims, into sex trafficking, involving prominent persons in Swedish society, to publisher Mikael Blomkrist (Michael Nyqvist). Shortly afterward Dag and Mia are executed and Bjurman is killed with forensic evidence of fingerprints and motive (for the lawyer's death) pointing at Lisbeth as the triple-murder suspect.
Certain that Lisbeth is not complicit, Mikael plunges into investigating the case by confronting a john from Dag's list of customers; getting assistance from Paolo Roberto, a professional pugilist who'd known Lisbeth since she was 17, training as a boxer with him; and discovering connections in the '80s between Bjurman and Zalachenko (formerly a Soviet defector), now a crippled man of 69.
Meanwhile, Lisbeth uses torture ("You're a sadistic pig and rapist") to obtain information for her own purposes. This episode identifies the man she'd torched in his car in 1993 when she was twelve years old along with her motive; also we're introduced to Peter Teleborian, the psychiatrist who committed her to a mental institution.
Zala's henchman, Ronald Niedermann, a blond giant built like a tank unable to feel pain (having congenital analgesia), abducts Miriam (expert at kickboxing) in an effort to force her into telling where Lisbeth can be found. In addition to a surprising conclusion, this film has graphic scenes of violence and sex.
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