Greetings again from the darkness. Part 3 of the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy brings to an end this fascinating multi-dimensional mystery-thriller centered around one of the most absorbing characters ever viewed on screen, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace). While I have anxiously awaited this final chapter, I must admit to a touch of emptiness in not having more to anticipate.

As with any literary adaptation, there will be devotees of the written word who say the film versions don’t do justice to the books. I have purposefully waited until seeing all three films to begin reading the books. What I will say is that from a pure film perspective, the 3 films are fascinating, thrilling and pure joy to follow.

As a stand alone, part 3 can be watched as a whole … however, I would promote the full benefit of watching the three in chronological order. The sum is much greater than any of the 3 pieces, though I will say that part one (Dragon Tattoo) is the superior film of the 3.

Part 3 begins with a flashback to the end of 2, and has Lisbeth and her scumbag father in the hospital recovering from their violent meeting. Her goon half-brother Niedermann (Micke Spreitz) is on the hunt for revenge. Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and his team at Millennium are putting together a comprehensive expose’ to help in Lisbeth’s defense and to prevent her from being institutionalized.

This is where we really are introduced to the players of The Section, the secret society of Swedish Police. This group from the 60’s seems to have no boundaries and will do whatever necessary to prevent exposure of their group. Their power is on display early on.

What follows is a very complex weave of intricate plot lines that fall across many levels of Swedish society. At the epicenter is Lisbeth and her knowledge of her father’s deeds over the years. Best to keep her quiet.

As she recovers from her injuries, we see the Millennium team start putting the pieces together with the help of the police. Lisbeth’s attorney Annika, has little luck in convincing her to speak with an independent shrink to prove her competence. Instead it falls to Dr. Teleborian, who has been a source of misery for Lisbeth since childhood. How things come together is quite fun to watch.

There are so many things that make Lisbeth captivating as a character. Her lack of trust in everyone. Her struggles to communicate with others in anything more than grunts. Her outright brilliance when backed into a corner. On and on. She is no white knight, but she does have her own body armor … spikes, piercings and hairspray.

Lisbeth’s saga has been a movie-going pleasure and I am sad to see it end. Though Larsson is dead, it’s not difficult to imagine a writer picking up where he left off and come up with additional story lines. Until then, the best we get is the Americanized version with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. I trust Ms. Mara understands how high the bar was set by Noomi Rapace.

Here are links to my comments on the first two parts:

SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you have seen the first two parts (like I could keep you away!)

SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you have read the books and think no movie ever does justice to the book

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