The Girl in the Spider's Web

In Cinemas Now

The past never forgets.

Golden Globe winner Claire Foy (The Crown) is Lisbeth Salander in this reboot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo from the director of Don't Breathe. Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs McEnroe) co-stars as journalist Mikael Blomkvist.

Fired from the National Security Agency, Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) 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.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Crime, Thriller, Blockbuster

115mins

Rating: MA15+ Strong themes and violence

UK, Germany, Sweden, Canada, USA

It’s been 11 years since the Swedish successfully adapted the bestselling Millenium book series to the screen, and seven years since David Fincher unsuccessfully tried to bring it to Hollywood.

Now The Girl in the Spider's Web, sort-of-sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (the book was not penned by Dragon’s late author Stieg Larsson), has been adapted into a movie, directed by Don’t Breathe’s Fede Álvarez and starring The Crown’s Claire Foy. Whether you were wanting her or not, Lisbeth Salander is back.

The Girl in The Spider’s Web, un-enticingly being peddled as a “soft reboot” for the franchise, sees the enigmatic computer hacker (and sometime feminist vigilante) now off the grid, haunted by an abusive childhood and the death of her younger sister.

Taking on dangerous jobs for powerful people, Lisbeth is employed a former NSA employee seeking to destroy the program he (stupidly) invented, which can access every nuclear code in the world.

Predictably, once Salandar is in possession of the program things go badly awry. Led into the dark netherworld of an organised crime ring calling themselves the ‘Spiders’ she soon discovers that (wouldn’t you know it) they have connections to her traumatic past.

The story—which is essentially the same as the most recent Bond film only with more allusions to childhood sexual abuse —plays out in a perfunctory fashion that, while stylishly filmed, struggles to get going.

Salandar, now apparently an expert at espionage as well as computer hacking, never really seems in danger; Her journalist manfriend, Mikael Blomkvist, is turned into a dishy pretty-boy who feels random at all times; meanwhile, the villains, all cartoonish Eurotrash, are barely even in it.

As a mostly fast-moving, enjoyably scenic, totally empty Scandi thriller it basically does its job. But as an attempt to kick-start a new surge of interest in the Salandar story, it is pretty hard to imagine The Girl in the Spider's Web having much luck.

Empire (UK)

press

An often effective reboot, this does everything you'd expect, but that's a real shame. Lisbeth might be a nomad, but she doesn't feel at home here.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

...relentlessly mediocre...

Hollywood Reporter

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It is edgy and action-packed, and Alvarez' direction keeps the tension high through a slew of ever-more-improbable threats to Lisbeth and her allies.

Screen International

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Claire Foy proves to be a perfectly respectable Lisbeth Salander, but like "Spider's Web" itself, the elaborate effort put forth hardly seems worth it.

The Guardian

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There's a slick competency on show. It's watchable enough but let down by a strange lack of interest in presenting Salander as anything but an engine to propel a plot.

The Times (UK)

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Here [Foy] perfectly captures Salander's monosyllabic repression, as well as the no-nonsense physicality, trusty Taser by her side.

Variety (USA)

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It was probably inevitable that Hollywood would neuter the best elements of Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" franchise, but did the producers really need to shift it into a commonplace cross between a superhero flick and James Bond?

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

I honestly believe The Girl and the Flogged Horse would have been a more appropriate title.