After a hiatus so long that audiences have likely forgotten the story of men-hating bi-sexual heroine Lisbeth Salander, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB appears with all the Hollywood aplomb. But one should be aware, at least briefly of the history of Lisbeth Salander.
Lisbeth Salander is the Swede heroine of the trilogy of Millennium’ books (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire and The Girl in the Hornet’s Nest) all made into Swedish films with only the first remade by David Fincher into an English Hollywood version. But the author Steig Larsson has passed away (Dragon Tattoo was published posthumously) and the new book which this film is based on is penned by a new author, Larsson’s successor, David Lagercrantz.
Computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) and journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) find themselves caught in a web of spies, cyber criminals and corrupt government officials. The rough story involves her hacking computers trying get code belonging to Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) while her code is stolen. At the same time, Edwin Neeham (LaKeith Stanfield), a National Security Agency (NSA) security expert is tracking Salander. Things get complicated with Camilla Salander (Sylvia Hoeks), Lisbeth’s estranged sister, who is the head of a major crime syndicate.
The best of all the films is the original Swede version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO that shocked with its violence and theme where the audience really felt Lisbeth’s trauma, being raped and abused by several men before merging a female vigilante killer.
Uruguay director Nede Alvarez’s (DON’T BREATHE) version shows Lisbeth instead as a female James Bond. Her job is to save the world just as is the job of Bond in all the Bond movies. He is less interested in Lisbeth’s drama but more in the film’s action set-pieces that involve countless car chases and explosions.
Alvarez does not bother about continuity either. In one action scene, Salander fires on a car driven by a kidnapper and the autistic son. The car is stranded on a bridge and Salander gets the boy out of the car. Where is the man at this point in time? He appears two minutes later firing bullets rapidly at them from a machine gun. The suspended bridge is then lifted.
Not much sense can be made of the technology or gimmicks either. When the logic of the password is revealed – some spill about prime numbers – the dialogue is so fast as if to prevent the audience from catching on that all this makes no sense. Anyone can get killed and with Salander almost invincible, the film generates no suspense. Even the sex scenes, between Salander and her female lover creates no surprise, the audience already aware of her bi-sexuality.
The film is set mainly in Sweden with all the actors speaking with an English or with a Swedish accent. There is an American character, a black tech expert who has to turn out to be a good guy.
All the originality of the Lisbeth Salandar’s previous films is gone. What is left is a slick and sloppy thriller, with too many scenes not making much sense. Don’t get tangled up with this one!