Series review: Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire
- Four fast-paced episodes delve into the personality of the Swedish author, while his relentless and fierce struggle against Fascism illustrates the recent political history of his country
The tenth edition of Atlàntida Film Fest, to be held online in August, has saved a slot in its programme –dedicated to our continent– for TV series, which today are warmly received by viewers thanks to streaming platforms. This festival, which is run by Jaume Ripoll (you can read an interview with him here), includes the Swedish production Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire. As its title suggests, it focuses on the figure of the deceased writer and author of the successful saga that started with the best-seller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, of which there have been two film adaptations: one made in Sweden, one in Hollywood.
The television series is directed by Henrik Georgsson (it is an extended version of the film format, also called Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire [+see also:
film profile], which premiered last year at Sundance Festival) and is overwhelming: it is as thrilling as one of Larsson’s novels. It includes the well-known interviews with friends and colleagues of the author of the Millennium trilogy, historians and other analysts, as well as visual content –some of it with overwhelming dramatic power– and dramatic performances (by the actor Emil Almen as Larsson). As a result, it is impossible not to succumb to the personality of this hyperactive nocturnal worker and to the description of a tumultuous and complex moment in the recent history of Sweden.
Since there is no need to give in to the usual cheap sensationalism of the never-ending Netflix documentary series, so well received by viewers, Georgsson decides to combine fleeting moments and testimonies (including several interviews with the author). In doing so, the director unentangles the extraordinary, obsessive and peculiar personality of Larsson, a man of such strict ethical and moral principles that they spurred his life and work towards a frenzied struggle against abuses and injustices.
Larsson reveals himself as a human being who believed in values such as equality, democracy and freedom, as illustrated by his literary work and his personal deeds. In this sense, his research into neo-Nazi parties–in one of the episodes he is actually described as a private investigator who even received serious threats from them– and his battle against political extremisms oblivious to harmony and tolerance, also stand out.
Stieg Larsson: The Man Who Played with Fire is a television series made up of four 45-minute episodes, available on Filmin until 27 August. It is a production of Swedish companies B-Reel Films and Film i Väst, distributed by SF Studios and whose international sales are managed by German company The Match Factory.
(Translated from Spanish by Marcos Randulfe)