Based on Stieg Larsson's second novel, The Girl Who Played With Fire is a literary work adapted to film. Lisbeth Salander (Rapace) is a wanted woman. A researcher and a Millennium journalist about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and violent behavior makes her an official danger to society. Mikael Blomkvist (Nyqvist), Salander's friend and Millennium's publisher, is alone in his belief of Salander's innocence. Digging deeper, Blomkvist unearths evidence implicating highly placed members of Swedish society—as well as shocking details about Salander's past. He is desperate to get to her before she is cornered—but no one can find her anywhere. (Gary Reber)
Special features include the theatrical trailer and up-front previews.
The 1.78:1 (16:9) 1080p AVC picture is rather undistinguished, with a prominent orangish tone in many interior scenes, which detracts from an otherwise natural appearance. The scenes are inconsistent in picture quality, at times exhibiting a natural character that captures the Stockholm city and countryside settings in daylight scenes, but mostly exhibiting a DVD quality, with limited resolution in much of the interior scenes. Overall the imagery is softly focused and lacking in definition. Unfortunately, the picture quality is inferior to the first presentation in the trilogy. (Gary Reber)
The soundtrack is encoded in the lossy Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel codec. A lossless or PCM version would certainly be more accurate and even more revealing of low-level detail and more robust in the dramatic scenes—the sound is intricate and well resolved. The recording quality is acceptable but not particularly distinguished. The orchestral music score is recorded with a wide and deep soundstage that envelops the surrounds with a subtle but definite presence. The dialogue quality is superb, with wonderful spatial integration that other filmmakers should emulate. The sound is faithful to the on-screen setting, with the dialogue perfectly scaled to each scene. Atmospheric effects are well integrated, to enhance the spatial soundscape. The preferred soundtrack is the Swedish language one, not the English dubbed version, which loses the fine balance and spatial integration of the dialogue. The soundtrack is essentially comprised of dialogue, music, and urban sounds and atmospheres. Bass extension is not prevalent but provides a satisfactory foundation, though, surprisingly absent from the more intense scenes. While credited with a .1 LFE channel, this channel was absent throughout the presentation. Overall, the soundtrack does not live up to its potential, particularly in the lack of deep bass impact, but the sound character is natural in presence. (Gary Reber)