25 September 2023

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Fede Alvarez, MGM/Columbia Pictures, MA, 117 Minutes.

It is surprising to see a fifth film in the ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ series considering the original trilogy released in 2009 was in Swedish, and still featuring the main characters based on Stieg Larsson’s renowned books.

Subsequently David Fincher followed with his American remake in 2011 and now rebooted by Uruguayan filmmaker Fede Alvarez (‘Evil Dead’) in his adaptation of Larsson’s fourth book in the Millennium series, appearing to be a possible sequel to Fincher’s movie.

Taking on the titular character of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander is ‘The Crown’s Claire Foy with Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (‘Borg Vs McEnroe’) in the role of Millennium investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, brilliantly portrayed by the late Michael Nykvist.

In this latest instalment, Alvarez provides some background story to the abusive childhood of Lisbeth and her sister before an adult Camilla (Sylvia Hoeks –‘Renegades’) becomes involved in the stealth of a series of cyber weapon codes known as Fireball.

Completely different from the earlier films, Lizbeth is hired by computer scientist Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant –‘Logan’) to retrieve the codes which can access every nuclear weapon on Earth.

This ultimately leads to a confrontation with her estranged sister Camilla in an intriguing high-stakes game, while Blomkvist plays more of a supporting role and not as action-oriented as his predecessors.

As the action heats-up in this conspiratorial crime thriller it is left to the tattooed leather-clad avenger on her motorbike to combat Camilla’s henchmen, led by a ruthless Russian thug known as the Spider Society hell-bent on stopping Salander.

In his mostly entertaining reboot, Alvarez has attempted to rejuvenate the franchise with a refreshed cast by adapting David Lagercrantz’s first book in the series after Larsson’s death and even engaging Fincher as an executive producer.

Despite the many action scenes including the exhilarating motorbike sequences along the frozen waterways and the Swedish settings, it is apparent Foy lacks the same charisma or special presence as that enjoyed by Noomi Rapace the Swedish Salander.

At the same time it is disappointing to see Gudnason’s portrayal of the Blomkvist character minimised to that of an observer in a storyline filled with many obscurities.

Vic’s Verdict: 3 Stars

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