The Girl in the Spider’s Web - 2018
Director(s): Fede Álvarez
Writer(s): Fede Álvarez, Jay Basu and Steven Knight (screenplay) / David Lagercrantz (book)
Cinematography by: Pedro Luque
Editor(s): Tatiana S. Riegel
Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks, Lakeith Stanfield, Sverrir Gudnason, Vicky Krieps and Stephen Merchant
The Girl with the Dragon is a great 2009 Swedish thriller based on a book of the same name, starring the highly underrated and underused Noomi Rapace as the titular role of Lisbeth Salander. David Fincher would remake it in 2011 for the American audience, and Rooney Mara played Lisbeth. The movie was good, no Fincher movie isn't, but it did not make money for the series to continue. Seven years later and in comes Fede Álvarez having already one successful remake under his belt, 2013's Evil Dead, to see if there is any life left in this franchise. The answer after seeing the box office results is a resounding no. Let's talk about it.
The story centers around Lisbeth Salander, this time around played by Claire Foy. Salander is a world-famous hacker/vigilante that mainly targets abusive men in power and looks to balance the playing field. Salander is hired to steal back a program that gives the user access to all the nuclear warheads, only to find out that she is set-up by a mysterious figure from the past. It's her sister, and that is not a spoiler they show it in the trailer, and the movie itself telegraphs it so painfully obvious that it was just annoying waiting for her to catch-up. And that is the biggest issue I have with this movie, the script. It never ventures too far from the generic hacker thriller tropes. There are lines of dialogue, sequences of events and "character motivations" that seemed to be copy-pasted from countless other movies, making an intriguing character in Salander bland and uninteresting. This movie should be called The Girl in the web of convenient coincidences, as every correctly happens in her favor that you start to question reality and maybe she lives in the Matrix, and she just hacked the world.
Quick note: I guess they wanted to turn this into a quasi-Bond franchise, with the multiple re-casts and the music intro pair with the weird foreshadowing imagery that always precedes a Bond installment.
Now as for the direction, Fede once again delivers on the visuals and the action. He has an excellent flair for action, utilizing camera movement in favor of the fight choreography. Foy seems to be doing most of her stunts, helping with the believability of her character. The car chases were exciting and executed well, and the sound design shines during these sequences as well. Fede and cinematographer Pedro Luque did a great job of playing with the visuals, even if they did overuse the CGI spider walking around in the background.
The acting is ok overall, and Foy once again is the bright spot. She added depth to her Lisbeth and a sense of longing for companionship. That vulnerability helps the audience connect with her and ultimately root for her victory in the end. Lakeith Stanfield is a great actor, as he proved in this year’s Sorry to Bother You, but he got shortchanged in this movie. They gave him horrible lines of dialogue and his character motivation was bland and generic. Sverrir Gudnason had the significant role of Mikael and did nothing with it, becoming a background character. It is hard to blame the cast when the script is so bland and uninspired.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is not a horrible movie by any means. It is merely an extremely forgettable movie, making this review hard to write. It inspires no conversation, good or bad, and that is the goal of a film. To entertain first, but to stimulate conversations between film lovers and goers. There is no “did you see that fight?”, “do you remember the line she said?” or even “how horrible was that movie?”. The movie is just there, and I will probably forget that I ever watched this movie. You should probably wait for it to hit Netflix and you need background noise while you clean your house. Claire Foy is why I love movies.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is currently playing in theaters. Wait for it to hit Netflix.
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