Our movie critic says Claire Foy shines bright in this dark thriller, but is this web worth a visit to the theater?
|Why am I burning down this house? I love Talking Heads, OK?! Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) stands outside the Brandmauer Manor in a scene from THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB. Credit: Nadja Klier © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved.|
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks,
Stephen Merchant, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund and Vicky Krieps
DIRECTOR(S): Fede Alvarez
THE BACK STORY: The first (kind of) sequel to the American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movie (and the first that is actually based on a book in the Dragon series not written by original author Steig Larsson), The Girl in the Spider’s Web stars Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, the computer-hacking genius who finds herself embroiled in a plot when a computer scientist named Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) contacts her. What does he want? For her to retrieve Project FreeFall from the National Security Agency in the U.S. before it falls into the wrong hands. So, once Lisbeth hacks into the NSA, she draws the attention of agent Edwin Needlam (Lakeith Stanfield) who is on the first plane he can find to Sweden to get to the bottom of things.
Of course, that wouldn’t be as big a problem if Lisbeth’s little move hadn’t also drawn the attention of a mysterious outfit known simply as the Spiders, a notorious crime syndicate that is about to make itself very well-known to our femme fatale. Calling in the assistance of her journalist friend/sometimes romantic liaison Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), Lisbeth is determined to get to recover the file and keep Frans’ son August (Christopher Convery) safe. There’s just one little problem in her plan she hadn’t counted on: Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks), her sister who has a major plan up her sleeve of her own.
THE REVIEW: Both the original Swedish (starring Noomi Rapace) an American (starring Rooney Mara in her breakout role) Girl with the Dragon Tattoo films were critically acclaimed, dark and moody thrillers that while successful, didn’t quite match the hype of the books in terms of audience excitment. (I mean, the U.S. version did pull in over $200 million, but that might have been the quietest $200 million maker ever. Seriously – didn’t it just seem like the movie kind of came and went?)
Old box office numbers notwithstanding, The Girl in the Spider’s Web continues Salander’s legacy in rousing fashion by finding an actress who seems tailor made for the role in Foy, who is clearer better than the somewhat predictable and heavy-handed foreshadow heavy direction of Fede Alvarez. Foy perfectly captures the sexuality, vulnerability, toughness, intelligence and extremely subtle underlying pain that drives Salander’s life, making the role her own just like the actresses before her. Foy’s presence drives every scene, almost to the point the other actors feel like they are along for her dark and twisted ride.
Foy aside, Spider’s Web plays out a little dry at times, save for the occasional quip by Stanfield. There’s really nothing too dynamic about Blomkvist as Gudnason plays him (Daniel Craig and Michael Nyqvist have nothing to worry about), Hoeks is so dark (ironically, as the palest actress on screen this year) it almost just feels unreal and the secondary characters just don’t have nowhere close the same level of intrigue as Foy character. Throw in a plot that is nowhere near as twisty and turny as it would like you to believe and you have an above average character being called upon to save a rather average story.
Luckily, much like the character she portrays, Foy more than proves she is up to the task.