the girl in the spider's web
DIRECTOR: Fede Alvarez (evil dead, don't breathe)
STARRING: claire foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, and Sylvia Hoeks
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder recruits hacker Lisbeth Salander to steal FireWall, a computer program that can access codes for nuclear weapons worldwide. The download soon draws attention from an NSA agent who traces the activity to Stockholm. Further problems arise when Russian thugs take Lisbeth's laptop and kidnap a math whiz who can make FireWall work. Now, Lisbeth and an unlikely ally must race against time to save the boy and recover the codes to avert disaster.
When Lisbeth Salander burst onto the cultural scene in Stieg Larrson's novels and in the subsequent Swedish and US film adaptions she was a phenomenon. Here was a character who had been sexual abused by men from youth who turned the tables on the misogynistic patriarchy, extracting her violent, humiliating, and torture filled brand of justice. She was a character that spoke to a boiling frustration that because of the system even in our day and age men could commit the most horrendous acts against women and get away with it.
In light of the Me Too movement I couldn't think of a more perfect character than Lisbeth Salander. So its such a pity that The Girl in the Spider's Web Lisbeth is a shadow of her former self.
Salander is still a computer hacker for hire and her services are sought by a former National Security operative who wants her to steal a program that accesses every single nuclear weapon on the planet. Salander manages to steal it but then some shadowy figures take it from her Salander begins to realise that she is caught up in a web (see what I did there?) far greater than she realised.
The film opens with a man having beat up his wife and you begin to think 'Oh yeah! He's about to get justice - Lisbeth style! Ha ha sucker!' But Lisbeth arrives, he gets hung upside down, all his money is stolen, and that's it. No torture, no gross humiliation. All very tame.
Now this may have worked if it truly was a reboot - if we were reintroduced to characters through backstory, motive, and the like. But we're not. We're just thrust into this world as if its a continuing story from the previous books and the Swedish film trilogy. When you go into the film with certain expectations when they're not met it can either delight or frustrate you. This is at the more frustrating end.
That being said its still a really good thriller with great action, a solid story, and a great little train station sequence thats reminiscent and as good as the Waterloo station sequence in The Bourne Ultimatum.
Claire Foy is good as Lisbeth Salander but her accent can be a little off at times sounding like Queen Elizabeth II putting on a Swedish accent. Sverrir Gudnason is good as the Mikael the journo (perhaps a little young looking?) and Sylvia Hoeks is superb as the completely messed up Camila.
Even though Lisbeth Salander is a shadow of her former self, The Girl in the Spider's Web is still a good action thriller with great action and a solid story.
The Girl in the Spider's Web is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4KUHD, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers.
The Girl in the Spider's Web has mult
Claire Foy: Becoming Lisbeth
All About the Stunts
Creating the World: The Making - Of
Secrets of the Sisters