'The Girl in the Spider's Web' Review
Claire Foy takes on the role of Lisbeth Salander in 'The Girl in the Spider's Web,' a thriller that will please fans of the Millennium series of books and everyone else alike.
Release Date: November 9, 2018
MPAA Rating: R
Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.
Director: Fede Alvarez
Screenwriter(s): Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, Steven Knight
Producer(s): Eli Bush, Elizabeth Cantillon, Berna Levin, Amy Pascal, Scott Rudin, Soren Staermose, Ole Sondberg
Cast: Claire Foy (Lisbeth Salander), Sylvia Hoeks (Camilla Salander, Lakeith Stanfield (Edwin Needham), Stephen Merchant (Frans Balder), Cameron Britton (Plague), Sverrir Gudnason (Mikael Blomkvist), Christopher Convery (August)
Editor: Tatiana S. Riegel
Cinematographer: Pedro Luque
Production Designer: Eve Stewart
Casting Director(s): Carmen Cuba
Music Score: Roque Banos
In 2009, Director Niels Arden Oplev (Dead Man Down) brought Stieg Larsson’s novel, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” to life — in Swedish, its original language. Noomi Rapace took on the role of hacker Lisbeth Salander and anyone doing it better seemed impossible, even when the sequels didn’t perform as well. In 2011, the inevitable US-made English version of the film, starring Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig, hit screens. This not-so-great remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo made any hope that Larsson’s other novels in the series would get an English-version fade (quickly). Surprisingly, another go has arrived, and unless you’ve been paying a great deal of attention to Larsson’s website, you may not even know The Girl in the Spider’s Web, starring Claire Foy (First Man) as Lisbeth Salander, releases in theatres November 9, 2018. But, the adaptation of the fourth book in the Millennium series, written by David Lagercrantz after Larsson’s passing, is ready for you. Here’s even better news for fans and everyone else who enjoys a terrific thriller: The Girl in the Spider’s Web is quite good.
It’s been three years since Lisbeth and journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason from Wallander: The Revenge), who has his career to thank for Lisbeth’s vigilante hacker ways (yet it’s not going well now) have been in contact. Don’t expect to see them playing house in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, even as the score that accompanies their first encounter tries desperately to cue you into them being forlorn. This isn’t a love story, and damn anyone who wishes it were. The Girl in the Spider’s Web, directed by Don’t Breathe‘s Fede Alvarez is a dramatic thriller that’s full of action and fast-paced twists and turns.
It’s strongly focused on Lisbeth’s relationship with her sister, and the opening flashback makes it clear it’s all going to come full circle. There is a definite predictability in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. It doesn’t take much to envision where it will end up; it’s the getting there, though, that’s a great ride to take. And special recognition must be given to Cinematographer Pedro Luque (Don’t Breathe) and Editor Tatiana S. Riegel (I, Tonya). They make the entire film look great and flow effortlessly, always focusing on what needs to be seen and taking creative directions to keep your eyes intrigued. And that bathroom fight scene: Pure magic.
Back to the Plot of The Girl in the Spider’s Web
A brilliant computer scientist, Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant from Logan) has developed an online defense system — FireFall — that can access every nuclear weapon in the world. (Yes, thoughts of Skynet are completely appropriate here.) Well, Balder regrets his creation and hires Lisbeth to steal it back from the NSA. She accomplishes this, of course, but as it goes, there’s someone out there who wants FireFall for their own nefarious reasons and Lisbeth is their first target, followed by Balder and his son August (Christopher Convery).
Through explosions, car chases, fancy motorbike racing, gunfights, and more, Lisbeth, with the help of Blomkvist and others, must keep FireFall out of the baddies hands. The catch: No spoilers here, but it all makes sense and is disturbing on a variety of levels, as Dragon Tattoo movies require. And Foy, she manages Lisbeth well.
Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander
Foy, popular for her role as the Queen in the first two seasons of “The Crown,” isn’t the first actress to come to mind when you think of who should play Lisbeth. Foy seems too demure and kind, and full of emotion that isn’t easily hidden. Rest assured, Foy pulls off Lisbeth, offering an older, more mature version that is still a badass vigilante who hates men who hurt women.
The introduction to Lisbeth in The Girl in the Spider’s Web signals her role as a Dark Angel Superhero, an avenger of women with a white clown makeup mask to highlight her eyes amidst the black. It’s a striking look and Foy’s expressive eyes fit perfectly. Lisbeth has always been a complicated character; she’s strong, brilliant, resourceful, a fighter, and full of a no-nonsense attitude. That’s what you get from Foy in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, and more. Lisbeth, as written by Jay Basu, Fede Alvarez, and Steven Knight (Locke), and portrayed by Foy, has a greater emotional depth this time around. It’s very much related to the boy, August, being present but also the memories of her childhood that she cannot escape. Some people just won’t stay dead, unfortunately — for Lisbeth. For us, it makes for a more interesting Lisbeth who nearly has her shell broken. Foy performs it well, giving the viewer just enough vulnerability beneath the harsh exterior but she makes it very clear that Lisbeth will never break.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the fourth book in the Millennium series; there is five total. This makes the possibility of “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” making it to the big screen possible if audiences take a liking to Foy as Lisbeth and the action and thrills The Girl in the Spider’s Web deliver. And it does deliver just what you desire.