A computer code designed to access the world’s nuclear arsenal forms the basis for another Millennium series story. Typical of Stieg Larsson – but this time David Lagercrantz – the story draws upon interpersonal forces that transcend the crime thriller and imbue it with deeper meaning. While Dan Brown ‘does the’ weird religious symbology, Sieig Larsson prefers the scary domestics. The black leather cladded, bike riding, computer hacker along with other lonesome characters are set within an appropriately alienating industrial landscape to complete the Larsson formula where the external reflects the internal.
The films have propelled the Millennium series to even greater success. The Girl in the Spider’s Web managed to gross over $31 million worldwide on its release.
Having read the book the film seems mildly disappointing. Maybe because this is a Lagercrantz’s adaption (and not a Larsson one). The complexity of the story seemed to lose something. Perhaps the Larsson formula is harder to mimic. Lisbeth Salander’s arch-enemy twin sister, Camilla works for an organization called The Spiders and is after the nuclear weapons computer code. She suffered abuse from their father and later confronts Lisbeth about abandonment. This sets up the final scene that redeems the film. The Millennium stories are as much about the human condition and as such, are atypical for their genre.
This time Lisbeth Salander is played by Claire Foy (star in Netflix’s The Crown and in First Man). Just like the James Bond franchise the super heroes are made interchangeable. All you need is the makeup (in Lisbeth’s case a pair of sharp scissors and black dye). Right? No, because Claire Foy excels in the role and her performance could persuade without the makeover. If anything she brings a new dimension to Salander that is deeper, more immersive. Salander can appear two dimensional for the simple fact that she may act upon something while secretly thinking of something else. But Foy is able to portray this successfully and become ‘Lisbeth the introvert hacker with an agenda’.
The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a crime thriller with art house credentials. Real depth of story and some quality acting puts it above the current crop of feature films.