Fede Alvarez made a name for himself with small, dirty genre films. His first big-budget production The Girl in the Spider’s Web On the other hand, things go wrong across the board – and that has nothing to do with the Uruguese native’s skillful production, but rather with an outrageous script. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
It’s been a long time since the unconventional hacker Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) and the journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason), who she secretly admires, have seen each other. Only a new case brings the two together when the NSA targets Lisbeth. She has uncovered evidence of a foreign intelligence conspiracy that should under no circumstances be made public. And to prevent this, Lisbeth’s opponents will use any means possible! After her house goes up in flames and the scientist Frans Balder is murdered, time is slowly ticking down for the ill-fated hacker. Luckily, she can rely on Mikael, who has long since brought together the threads that all lead to Lisbeth. And to Balder’s highly intelligent son August, who seems to be the key to everything…
Movie explanation of the ending
The background story of the fourth novel in the thriller series by the late writer Stieg Larsson, known as the “Millennium” trilogy, is so exciting that it almost needs another film to process it. The book, called “Conspiracy” in USA, no longer has anything to do with Stieg Larsson’s original vision (his widow still keeps his draft for the fourth part under wraps from interested parties and the public), which he once intended for his iconic main character Lisbeth Salander had. After his death, the journalist David Lagercrantz, with the blessing of Larsson’s family, wrote a fourth volume about the hacker, independent of the trilogy. However, there were no agreements on the content with the relatives and Larsson himself was of course no longer able to counteract the publication. We don’t know whether he would have wanted that at all. What can be assumed, however, is that no one can be satisfied with the film adaptation of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, a kind of quasi-sequel to the 2012 hardcore thriller “Verblendung” by David Fincher, who was originally supposed to direct parts two and three. Claire Foy proves herself (“Unsane – Delivered”) Lisbeth Salander and director Fede Alvarez are absolutely equal to their predecessors (“Don’t Breathe”) understands the visual basics of genre cinema. But the story itself barely gets going.
Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) is faced with the ruins of her past.
There are things that you usually don’t notice when you watch a film for the first time, as long as the plot really grabs you. Connection errors are an example of this. “Conspiracy” is full of them; of inaccurate tracking shots, sudden changes in perspective and a lack of continuity – and the fact that you always become aware of this immediately is mainly because you simply don’t know for a long time what “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is actually about and therefore have enough time to get your head around it to focus on everything that goes wrong in the film. The script by Fede Alvarez, Jay Basu makes up half of the film, which is not exactly short at two hours (“Song of Songs”) and Steven Knight (“Allied – Familiar Strangers”) It introduces so many storylines and characters that you don’t realize the real focus of the story for a long time. Two things in particular suffer from this: the main character, about whom you learn absolutely nothing (new) without knowledge from the books or previous films. In “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” she is solely an active person; any background knowledge is only given if it is relevant to the story. On the other hand, all of this also comes at the expense of tension. Before anything finally gets down to business, the characters have long dialogues and run from A to B; Individual tension peaks such as a neatly filmed explosion or a very stylishly staged fight are exceptional phenomena.
Fede Alvarez has directed two modern milestones in horror cinema with “Don’t Breathe” and the “Evil Dead” remake. Above all, his feeling for dark aesthetics was expressed in completely different ways in both works. At times his use of violence is playful and provocative, at other times nihilistic and malicious. In both cases it does not fail to have its effect. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” also has precisely this strength, which is not unimportant for a thriller. When the camera (Pedro Luque, “Don’t Breathe”) glides through the snow-covered landscape of the Swedish hinterland, or in the finale makes optimal use of the narrow space in an old factory hall so that everything seems extra oppressive, then the strengths of the virtuoso filmmaker clearly come through here. Alvarez also gets the most fucked-up cool out of his leading actress, who effortlessly outshines all other actors and actresses – if we aren’t presented with a backstory, then what Lisbeth Salander does can at least look really cool. But she can’t do anything against the sometimes outrageous script, which particularly likes to rely on coincidence when there is no logical way out of the narrative and makes its characters look pretty stupid more than once.
Sverrir Gudnason barely has anything to do as Mikael Blomkvist in Conspiracy.
Why Mikael Blomkvist, who connects the previous “Millennium” trilogy, also appears in “Conspiracy” is a mystery, at least purely in relation to this film. Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara have also rigorously played their previous colleagues to the wall, but the role of the disgraced investigative journalist has never been as unimportant as it is here. The plot would get going even without his alibi appearance. What’s even more important, however, is that it would stay running, because in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” Sverrir has Gudnason (“Borg/McEnroe”) nothing more to do than briefly summarize what is happening for the viewer every now and then. Now, with such an uncoordinated narrative style like this, it can be really helpful if the viewer is brought up to date from time to time. It only gets difficult when you realize at the end that the story itself was actually very simple and, for the most part, completely predictable; The occasional feeling of not quite knowing what is actually happening is solely due to the clumsy script. This not only maneuvers itself bumpily from the exposition to a very attractive opening credits to the explosive finale, it also devotes itself again and again to the notorious violent escapades known from the books. But even if we didn’t expect a major studio like Sony to give the demon tamer Alvarez as much freedom as the production companies of his previous films (Fede Alvarez even emphasized in the interview that it was exactly like that) , the level of violence displayed in “Conspiracy” is remarkably low. The fact that Lisbeth Salander is only satisfied with a stun gun as a weapon for her chosen victims is almost family-friendly. By the way, David Fincher explicitly demanded that he only direct this film if he didn’t have to pay attention to a PG-13 rating. We know the result.
Conclusion: Little thrill, hardly any violence and a Lisbeth Salander, about whom we only learn that she can also be played well by Claire Foy – “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” is one of the biggest disappointments of the cinema year.
“The Girl in the Spider’s Web” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from November 22nd.