Claire Foy is the latest actress to tackle the role of punk-hacker extraordinaire Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, a drudging and woefully unexciting Dragon Tattoo story adapted from materials by Steig Larsson and David Lagercrantz. Foy herself does a good job as the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo but the film is weighed down by shoddy camerawork, pacing problems and hit-and-miss execution from director Fede Alvarez.
Lisbeth is approached by a man named Balder, who conceived a computer program capable of giving a single individual sole control of every missile launch protocol and program on the planet. Balder seeks Lisbeth’s aid and talents to steal it from the Americans and destroy it but finds herself ensnared in a tangled web of corrupt government officials, cyber-spies and mercenaries orchestrated by Lisbeth’s long lost sister Camilla.
There were times when I felt this movie didn’t know what it was or what it wanted to be. The plot and how this movie set itself up, felt as though it was derived from a James Bond movie and I wasn’t sure if that was what Alvarez wanted to do with this movie but the film just lacked a true sense of identity, especially since we’re all a few years removed from David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
Lisbeth Salander is a strong female protagonist and this movie makes a sincere effort to showcase her strength, intelligence and independence and I credit Alvarez, Jay Basu and Steven Knight for adapting that strength and intelligence from Lagercrantz’s novel and into this movie and again, Claire Foy does a fine job with the character. The problem is that there were times where I didn’t believe that this plot was out of place with this character; maybe that is an issue when it comes to the book, but I just felt as though the movie is out of step with the strengths of that character.
The cast is alright. Foy does a good job, as does Lakeith Stanfield, Sverrir Gudnason, Stephen Merchant and Sylvia Hoeks but the rest of the cast is reduced to just background. If anything, you go see this movie if you are a fan of Claire Foy.
Technically, this movie is hit-or-miss for the most part. Pedro Luque’s cinematography and camerawork is probably the worst I’ve seen all year. The use of Steadicam and the tracking shots are painful to watch in places because the camerawork is so unbalanced and shaky and it hurts the appeal of the film.
Tatiana S. Riegel’s editing makes up for the bad camerawork though, if that is any consolation. Roque Baños’ music is forgettable, Eve Stewart’s production design is mediocre, the art direction fades into the background, the set decoration is okay, Carlos Rosario’s costumes are decent; there are things to like when it comes to the technical aspects of The Girl in the Spider’s Web but that is countered by significant flaws in its design.
It was nice seeing Lisbeth Salander return to the big screen but I don’t believe The Girl in the Spider’s Web was the right vehicle for her to make her comeback.