Lisbeth Salander returns in The Girl In The Spider’s Web, opening on November 9. Rather than continuing the last big-screen version of the character, this film adapts the fourth book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, and serves as a soft reboot of 2011’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Claire Foy plays hacker Lisbeth Salander, now a vigilante on a quest to punish men who hurt women. Lisbeth is hired by an NSA agent to retrieve a program called Firewall. Unsurprisingly for us, the job turns out to be more than she bargained for. Soon, she’s hunted by a shadowy organization, and also by her own long-lost sister Camilla, played by Sylvia Hoekes.
Tickets are now on sale for this follow-up to the critically praised The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. We’ll admit The Girl In The Spider’s Web has big shoes to fill. But director Fede Alvarez (Don’t Breathe) appears to have come up with the right combination of elements to make the movie one of 2018’s standout thrillers.
An Unforgiving World
Stieg Larson established an eerie reality in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. In the novels, Lisbeth Salander’s world is unforgiving. For the hacker, danger lurks around every corner; the books are unrelenting in their depiction of the suffering endured by Lisbeth at the hands of criminals, psychopaths and even her own family.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web adopts that same approach. Lisbeth operates within an extremely hostile environment. She has few allies and many enemies. She’s never truly sure of who to trust, and that uncertainty is rooted in her traumatic experiences. Claire Foy told Collider how Salander’s past affects the character:
She’s incredibly strong and intelligent and […] powerful in her own right, but at the same time she’s so vulnerable and [she’s] damaged by what’s happened in her life. She doesn’t necessarily work from an entirely conscious level […] Because of all the things that have happened in her past […] she’s very, very closed off, and [has] her defenses up the majority of the time.
There’s little hope left for Lisbeth. As hinted at in the trailers, she isn’t looking for a happy ending. She’s simply focused on surviving and punishing those who wrong others. We see how her traumas have shaped her, and understand her treacherous existence as her history informs how she approaches each new problem. This ominous atmosphere is ideal for a thriller, especially one with heavy psychological undertones.
Lisbeth’s Greatest Challenge
The central mystery is one of the most special things about The Girl In The Spider’s Web. Camilla, Lisbeth’s sister, previously believed dead, comes crashing back into Lisbeth’s life looking for revenge over an incident years in the past. That’s simple enough, but the chain of events Camilla sets in motion clashes directly with Lisbeth’s own nature.
The trailer shows Camilla confronting her sister. She ponders why Lisbeth, whose life mission is to rescue women in need, couldn’t help her when that was needed the most. Naturally, the question arises: what exactly happened between the two? This conundrum brings a powerful emotional dynamic into the story and shows Lisbeth in a new light. Is there an even darker side to the character than we had previously thought?
Admittedly, these questions can sometimes be easy to unravel with a quick look back at the source material. That may not be the case with The Girl In The Spider’s Web, as it isn’t expected to remain entirely faithful to the book it is based on. Alvarez has the opportunity to craft a mystery that will surprise even longtime fans of Lisbeth’s story.
The Girl In The Spider’s Web promises to pave a new path through the same elements that made The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo book saga such a success. Unlike previous live-action adaptations of the series, which put an emphasis on the story’s crime drama elements, Fede Alvarez is folding additional genre influences into the story to create a varied yet cohesive experience.
First and foremost this movie is definitely a thriller, focused on Lisbeth’s investigation into her sister’s carefully-plotted revenge. But there are elements of action and spy movies — and even horror, no surprise given that Alvarez previously directed Don’t Breathe and the Evil Dead remake.
That genre cocktail should add dynamics to the story, giving The Girl In The Spider’s Web a distinctive style.
Get tickets now for The Girl In The Spider’s Web, opening on November 9.