Film Review: The Girl In The Spider’s Web

Frances Winston reviews The Girl In The Spider’s Web, another film in the Dragon Tattoo franchise 

Directed by: Fede Álvarez – Starring: Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant

Not to try and confuse you, but this latest addition to the Dragon Tattoo franchise is both a soft reboot, and a sequel, to David Fincher’s 2011 movie, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

I think in all my years of watching movies, both as a fan and as a reviewer, this is the first time I’ve ever encountered this! It also sees none other than The Crown’s Claire Foy taking on the role of gothic vigilante hacker, Lisbeth Salander.

The Girl In The Spider’s Web is a big departure for Foy, who rose to prominence playing Queen Elizabeth II in the aforementioned The Crown, and here, she not only has to adopt a Swedish accent, but also go full-on action-heroine. This is not something we are used to seeing from her, and it does take a while to get used to seeing her in the role. But after a while, you settle into it (although her accent remains all over the place throughout) and she does indeed have the kick-ass credentials required for a role like this. Indeed, she is one of the best things about this film.

Since it’s a reboot/sequel, you may get a sense of déjà vu watching The Girl In The Spider’s Web. We’re given more backstory than in previous films, and learn a bit about her father and his monstrous tendencies.

Years later, the Lisbeth we know is hired by a programmer named Balder (played by Stephen Merchant in what feels like a rather odd piece of casting) to retrieve a programme he has written, which can access the world’s nuclear codes. However, as is always the case with something like that, many people are after it, and once Lisbeth has retrieved it, she finds herself pursued by both mercenaries and the Swedish Secret Service.

Although less complex than the previous movies, The Girl In The Spider’s Web will still leave you scratching your head at times. Álvarez seems to think that big action-scenes will detract from any weakness in the plot. So what you get are some completely implausible solutions to situations that Lisbeth finds herself in, and it really takes you out of the world of the film.

While Foy is fabulous, most of the other characters are thinly-written clichés, and on the whole, the great cast is completely wasted. Merchant, in particular, looks incredibly out of place, and seems uncomfortable throughout.

At almost two hours long, The Girl In The Spider’s Web feels somewhat slow, and perhaps shaving 10-15 minutes off the running time would have helped make the narrative somewhat snappier.

Other than Foy, the best thing about The Girl In The Spider’s Web is the cinematography. There are some truly spectacular shots of Stockholm, and the Swedish landscapes and the vastness of it will take your breath away.

Overall, The Girl In The Spider’s Web is a decent enough, if overly complicated, thriller. It entertains, but also confuses, however, Foy’s performance, and the action-scenes, make it watchable, and elevate it from just another reboot. Sorry reboot/sequel.

In Cinemas Now!

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