There’s more than a hint of Se7en about breakneck thriller Along Came A Spider, but it also displays its own merits of clever casting and superior direction. Intent on committing a spectacular crime, Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) poses as a teacher to abduct the daughter of a Washington senator. He also contacts psychological profiler Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), baiting him to join the investigation.
Cross is persuaded to accept Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter) as his partner, and soon deduces that the abduction is a smokescreen for the real target: the Russian president’s son. The hunt is on to retrieve the first victim, prevent a second kidnapping and confirm Cross’ hunch that Soneji has the help of an insider…
Cross’ second big screen outing (following 1997’s Kiss the Girls ) confirms Cross as a populist crime fighter, although Hollywood often lacks the moral ambiguity which characterises recent detectives. James Patterson’s novel has a clear sense of black and white – be it in racial or moral terms – which could be interpreted as lacking complexity.
In the hands of Lee Tamahori (who made the Maori drama Once Were Warriors ) it gathers meaning, even if the author’s pairing of Flannigan and Cross as lovers is regrettably absent in the movie. The big set-piece – a highly detailed ransom drop conducted via payphones – is handled well, evoking the determination of both police and perps to achieve victory. That same contest is evident between the actors. Freeman’s sagacious old sleuth is great to watch, but the unstable genius of Wincott (seen all too rarely these days) provides fearful symmetry and ensures the film stays in the mind.
USA / 104 minutes / 2001
Writers:Marc Moss (from the novel by James Patterson),
Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross
Monica Potter as Jezzie Flannigan
Michael Wincott as Garry Sone
Dylan Baker as Ollie McArthur
Mika Boorem as Megan Rose
Anton Yelchin as Dimitri Storodubov
Billy Burke as Ben Devine
Michael Moriarty as Senator Hank Rose
Penelope Ann Miller as Elizabeth Rose
Raoul Ganeev as Bodyguard
Jay O. Sanders as Kyle Craig
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