Along Came A Spider
View Date: April 6th, 2001
|Morgan Freeman||Alex Cross|
|Monica Potter||Jessie Flannigan|
|Michael Wincott||Gary Soneji|
|Mika Boorem||Megan Rose|
|Penelope Ann Miller||Katherine Rose|
|Michael Moriarty||Senator Dunn|
|Dylan Baker||Ollie MacArthur|
|Billy Burke||Ben Devine|
Moss, based on the novel by James
Director: Lee Tamahori
There may be no greater crime in Hollywood, other than riding with Robert Downey Jr, then waste. Wasted talent, wasted ideas, and worst of all, wasted potential. There are numerous examples of each these which I will not recount but which Iím sure you can imagine. Along Came A Spider is a combination of all three, taking an interesting and unique premise, a strong cast, and some unoriginal effective plot twists and turning it from a suspenseful, edge of your seat ride, into yet another attempt to shock and surprise rather than staying consistent with the filmmakers initial vision. The result is a ride that that is enthralling, energetic, yet unfulfilling in its ultimate resolution.
The movie begins with a bang, albeit a slightly hokey special effects sequence, but it still grabs your attention. Detective Alex Cross, from Kiss The Girls, returns and when we catch up with him this time, is in pursuit of a sexual predator, using his partner as bait. Of course, this goes horribly wrong, and Cross goes into seclusion, blaming himself for his partners ultimate outcome. He is drawn out, when the daughter of a senator is mysteriously kidnapped, and the kidnapper contacts and involves Cross in the scheme. What follows, is an intense mental chess game, between the mind of genius, and the mind of a madman, which is unique and interesting to watch, because the focus is not necessarily on who done it, but when, or will, they be caught. Joining Cross in the search and chase is Potter, as the FBI agent who was responsible for the surveillance of the senatorís daughter. Together, they become the unwilling participants in the kidnappers game while also springing a few plays of their own in order to triumph and return the young girl to safety. Battles of minds in movies can be quite entertaining when done with the style that this one is, showing each as an equal, rather than one being superior to the other. The films intensity is created not from the search for who done it, as that is revealed early on, but from the intelligent, intense battle of wits between two minds, one great, one evil. The chess game is what draws the audience in and maintains the tension. Unfortunately, that tension is forsaken in the finale in place of an absurd twist meant to shock and surprise, but succeeding only in confusing, convoluting and inevitably stealing away the majority of the potential that the movie had built up.
Freemanís calm intensity fits in
perfectly, although its not really a stretch since heís done this role, and
this character several times over, in Seven, in Kiss The Girls and in the little
seen, but underrated Under Suspicion. However,
he does it so well, its difficult to fault him, just kind of makes me wish
heíd branch out a bit and utilize the talent that is obviously there. Save the spunk of the young senatorís daughter, no
other performance is really worth mentioning, including a nearly unrecognizable
Penelope Ann Miller, and yet another bad guy role for Michael Wincott.
Most of the cast exist merely as the pawns in the chess game between
Freeman and Wincott. But eventually
they all spiral downward in conjunction with the degradation of the sensibility
of the plot
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