Starring: Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott
Director: Lee Tamahori
Running Time: 104 mins
Along Came A Spider is an American film about a detective who is brought into to investigate the case of the disappearance of the daughter of a US Congressman, all the while recovering from the loss of his last partner.
As far as being an engaging and entertaining thriller goes, Along Came A Spider does the job really well. With a charismatic and as-ever wise lead performance from Morgan Freeman, as well as a screenplay that’s full of twists and turns, you’ll definitely have a lot of fun with this film, even if it doesn’t quite prove the masterpiece of a mystery that it clearly wants to be, with some of its plot elements not proving as deeply riveting or unpredictable enough to really stun you.
Let’s start off with the film’s strengths, the biggest of which comes from the fact that it is an engaging and entertaining thriller, even if it’s not quite edge-of-your-seat stuff. Complete with a plot that’s full of twists and turns and complex allegiances, there’s a lot going on in this movie, and all of it keeps you fully intrigued throughout, with the rapid pace also working well to grab your attention.
It’s the same sort of sensation as reading a good mystery thriller novel on an aeroplane. While it doesn’t quite have the depth or fierce unpredictability and intelligence of the best thrillers of all, its screenplay is well-written throughout, the dialogue is simple yet engaging, and it all comes together to make for a really entertaining hour and a half or so.
Another positive comes in the form of the performances. Although not all are exceptional, Morgan Freeman in particular is as charismatic, wise and entertaining a lead presence as always, and is fully convincing as a battle-hardened detective with a fierce desire to get the case solved. I don’t think that the screenplay really does enough to bring his character’s deeper demons into play, and Freeman also doesn’t do all that much to emphasise his character’s guilt at the loss of his previous partner, but he’s still a great lead throughout, which is enough to grab you right from the beginning regardless.
When it comes to the story, it’s a bit of a mixed bag between the entertaining, albeit more simple mystery stuff, and a lack of properly unpredictable and intelligent thrills. On the one hand, this doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of Seven, with nowhere near enough originality or unpredictabilty to really get you on the edge of your seat. However, by following a fairly generic thriller formula and carrying it out well, it still makes for an entertaining watch throughout, and with one really good twist, there’s still surprises and drama there to keep you engaged.
I wouldn’t say that this is the perfect film to give you an intensely exciting or riveting movie-watching experience, but it is the sort of film that holds your attention well throughout, thanks to an engaging and entertaining story with a well-written screenplay and strong directing, and that’s without a doubt enough to prove enjoyable for the whole duration, which is why I’m giving Along Came A Spider a 7.5 overall.