On the verge of breaking a story that will expose a sex trafficking ring, Swedish magazine publisher Mikael Blomkvist's (Nyqvist) is shocked when the journalists on the case are murdered. When his old flame Lisbeth Salander (Rapace) is implicated in the killings - plus the murder of her sexually abusive probationary guardian Bjurman (Andersson) - Blomkvist sets out to clear her name. Meanwhile Salander, who has recently returned from the Caribbean, does some investigating of her own as she attempts to discover who is setting her up. Pursued by a killer who is unable to feel pain, and who has links to her chequered past, the socially stunted computer hacker uses her own savage methods to learn the truth.
The second book in late author Steig Larsson's ridiculously popular crime novels, The Girl Who Played With Fire isn't quite as well suited to the screen as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but its gripping stuff nonetheless. With an upcoming role in Sherlock Holmes 2 and a rumoured lead turn in Ridley Scott's Alien prequel, Rapace is riding high and it's no surprise given the beguiling enigmatic intensity that she brings to moody, body-pierced, bisexual Salander.
Fealty to the book means that Nyqvist and Rapace only share the screen briefly, which given their obvious chemistry in the original film is a bit of a shame. Nevertheless, there's darkly gripping intrigue aplenty, and although things get a little too preposterous at times - Salander's painless nemesis is straight out of a Bond film - the legions of fans hooked by the books certainly won't be disappointed. Shamelessly setting up the concluding part of the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, this second part does the groundwork for what promises to be an incendiary finale.