The film is intense — especially the scenes of violence. While Lisbeth usually shows mercy on the men she’s dealing with — as in not killing them but forcing them to live with their demons after a swift butt-kicking — the people she is up against believe in torture and attempted murder, even when it comes to Miriam, Lisbeth’s on-and-off girlfriend.
Although we caught a glimpse of Miriam in the first film, she has a more significant part in The Girl Who Played With Fire. Lisbeth seeks her out at a bar when she returns to Sweden, and Miriam teases her that Lisbeth is the only person she’s ever known that would come back after not calling for eight months and ask for a roll the sheets.
But Lisbeth doesn’t just want to have sex with Miriam — she’s hoping Miriam will live in her apartment so that she can keep her address. Miriam agrees, but not until they’ve taken to the floor for a hot lovemaking session that never feels forced or faked, or makes viewers feel like they are being voyeuristic.
Of course, Miriam is unintentionally put in harm’s way (by being associated with Lisbeth) when the police raid her apartment. The people behind the murders of the reporters attempt to beat information out of her and a boxing instructor who tries to help Mikael find Lisbeth.
Don’t misunderstand, though — Miriam is a tough broad, too. But the person she’s up against is almost impossible to take on without a gun. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you any more; I just want to make sure it’s known that Miriam is a skilled boxer and won’t go down without a fight.
But this time, Lisbeth’s romantic relationships are the least of her worries. She’s on her own throughout most of the film, donning blonde wigs or less make-up to blend in and not be found. Her picture is plastered everywhere as the police search for her as a suspect. And, without ruining anything for those of you haven’t seen it yet, this is what makes the film so good.
Lisbeth is a fierce protagonist but she’s not without fault. She accepts that she has done wrong in her past, and she continues to have nightmares about it, even if she’s staying in a plush Caribbean resort suite. She can’t escape who she is, and she doesn’t try. She just wants the truth to be known, and to be able to live her life without the past constantly catching up with her.
But of course, it wouldn’t be such an enticing set of novels or films if Lisbeth’s life were a bore. Luckily for us, she’s maintained her interest in hacking, trailing and riding motorcycles.