Claire Foy slips out of her delicate persona and adopts the punk rock anti-heroine aesthetic of the infamous Lisbeth Salander in a bold new chapter of The Girl In The Dragon Tattoo series with The Girl In The Spider’s Web and this film is sure to get your heart racing.
Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Foy) and her lover crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) find themselves caught in a web of spies, cyber criminals and corrupt government officials after a mysterious figure from Lisbeth’s past resurfaces.
For a character and a story like this The Girl In The Spider’s Web needed a director with a vision to craft something utterly unique and rising horror master Fede Alvarez was the man for the job. With a resume that’s piling up withe genre hits like Evil Dead and Don’t Breathe, Alvarez has now decided to change tack and has jumped into the thriller genre with a vengeance. He brings his same harsh eye for intensity that he did with his previous films to The Girl In The Spider’s Web and as a director he really leaves you on edge thanks to how he places his attention towards the unexpected.
Part of what makes Alvarez’s direction so engaging is that he focuses his attention on fully building the world that Lisbeth exists in and whether its the decadent halls of the moneyed elite or the dark and grungy basement of Lizbeth’s base of operations, as an audience member you truly feel like you’re a part of this world. The emphasis here is on the hyper real and Alvarez immerses you in this slick and stylish thriller thanks to some exotic camera work and some very shiny set dressing.
As a character Lisbeth Salander is completely fluid and can be interpreted in a multitude of different ways and now Claire Foy (The Queen) gets the chance to channel this anti-heroine in a new chapter of her story. The thing that struck me with Foy’s performance was her complete absorption into the character of Lisbeth. She’s sawny and taut and ready to pounce at any moment like some kind of wild animal. I also felt that there was a hunger about her and a curiosity that can’t be contained.
Part of what made her performance interesting was the situations that the narrative placed her in, such as when she has to confront her own maternal instincts for the first time and finds her antisocial, closed off character questioned and compromised. Foy also really gets into the action as well and her ‘win at any cost’ mentality when it comes to fighting makes for a genuinely interesting experience to see up on screen.
The supporting cast of The Girl In The Spider’s Web are also great additions to the film with Sverrir Gudnason cast as crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth’s one time lover and Sylvia Hoeks as Camilla Salander, Lisbeth’s vindictive and psychotic twin sister. I’ve also got to hand it to LaKeith Stanfield for his performance as Edwin Needham, an NSA operative who is on Lisbeth’s trail and gives her a run for her money, while Claes Bang brings a terrifying presence to Camilla Salander’s chief enforcer Jan Holtser.
If you’re looking for intensity then you’ll absolutely find it with The Girl In The Spider’s Web. From adrenaline charging car chases to heated exchanges of high ferocity gunfire this is one thriller that screams action. I have to say that my favourite part of all of it would be Lisbeth’s getaway from the police which see’s her slam her supercharged Ducati Monster onto a frozen ice lake that begins to crackle and bust up as she makes her getaway in style. It’s moments like these that take you back to Alvarez’s extraordinary vision and desire for a hyper real cinematic experience and the result is an edge of your seat watch.
If there’s a word that I’d use to describe The Girl In The Spider’s Web than gnarly would definitely be a perfect fit. This film grabs you by the throat with its intensity and its twists and turns will keep you guessing right up to the very end because Lisbeth sure knows how to take us for a ride.
Image: Sony Pictures