Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018)

Directed by: Fede Alvarez | 115 minutes | crime, drama | Actors: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Carlotta von Falkenhayn, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund, Cameron Britton, Vicky Krieps, Andreja Pejic, Mikael Persbrandt, Paula Schramm, Volker Bruch, Saskia Sophie Rosendahl, Pål Sverre Hagen

The ‘Millennium’ film series has a somewhat muddled history. It starts clearly: in 2009 Stieg Larsson’s Swedish book trilogy was made into a film with Noomi Rapace and Michael Nyqvist in the lead roles. In 2011, an American remake of the first part of the trilogy followed, with Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig. There were no sequels, however, and now there’s ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’. This is an indirect sequel to the first American film, but based on the fourth installment in the ‘Millennium’ book series (written by David Lagercrantz). To make things even more confusing, the cast has been completely revamped. The result is by no means a bad film, but one that leaves something to be desired.

In ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ we again follow the computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, who, in addition to her digital activities, regularly comes to the aid of abused women. A former NSA employee approaches her about Firefall, a program he developed that can crack nuclear codes anywhere in the world. Salander decides to help him stop Firefall, encountering her semi-partner Mikael Blomkvist again along the way.

For those who know the original trilogy and the first American film, ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is a strange experience. While these films were all about solving murders and unmasking complex crime networks, in which hacking was only marginally discussed, ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is more like a kind of high-tech spy thriller. Not exactly what you’d expect with Fede Alvarez, best known for horror films like the acclaimed ‘Don’t Breathe’ and the remake of ‘Evil Dead’, in the director’s chair. It most resembles a film noir version of James Bond or Jason Bourne, without exotic locations and car stunts but with a lot of violent combat and almost science fiction-like technology. For those who love this, ‘Spider’s Web’ offers a lot of action and intrigue. It does, however, drift away from the human drama and the nail-biting tension with which the ‘Millennium’ series has become so famous.

What remains are the sublimely desolately portrayed European locations (including Berlin and Stockholm) and the fantastic playing of Claire Foy (‘The Crown’, ‘First Man’) as Salander. After Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara, Foy is the third actress on the silver screen to take on the role of Salander. Where Rapace and Mara mainly portray her as a socially maladjusted outsider, Foy puts more emphasis on her militancy and the relationship with her sister Camilla, played by the Dutch actress Sylvia Hoeks (‘De gang van Oss’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’). And she does so with gusto – once again Salander is the absolute star of the film and the best reason to go see it. Blomkvist, played by Sverrir Gudnason (‘Original’, ‘The Circle’, ‘Borg vs McEnroe’), is meager and in fact only has a supporting role. On the one hand it is a pity that the relationship between Blomkvist and Salander fades into the background, on the other hand this means that Salander as a character stands more on its own. American actor Lakeith Stanfield (“Selma,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Snowden”), who plays an NSA cop on the trail of Salander, looks like he’s stepped right out of another movie and is mainly there for the plot surrounding Firefall. to propel.

‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is by no means a bad film and worth watching for Foy’s portrayal of Lisbeth Salander alone. It is a pity that the film drifts away from what makes ‘Millennium’ so beloved. In doing so, he leaves the series in uncertainty.

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