Monday 23 August 2010

Movie sequels: no

Oh dear, no. Not even when number one was one of my favourite films ever. The Girl who Played with Fire was a big non-event, alas not subtle, absorbing or delicious at all. And now I come to think about it:  how could it have been otherwise? A feature film is quintessentially a single, self-contained artefact, a quite specific form that builds, climaxes and resolves in a couple of hours. And the building, in order to satisfy, must be a building of scene, characters and relationships, as well as of plot - the arc of climax and resolution then sweeping all of these along together. But the makers of a sequel are not, of course, going to spend time on constructing all over again the characters and scenario already constructed in part one, the assumption being that the viewer already has all that information. This must have seemed like a gift to the makers of The Girl who Played with Fire. Faced with the impossible task of adapting a 600-page novel, at least they could leave all that stuff out and proceed directly to the narrative. This meant excising the first, enchantingly digressive, one-third of the book, along with all the poignant personal detail throughout which is what makes us (well, me anyway) care about these people when they start rushing around and risking their lives. Frustratingly pointless. I may have to see the third film for the sake of completion and as the maximum gesture of fandom towards the novels I enjoyed so much. But not for any other reason. Shame.