Movie Reviews: Along Came A Spider




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     Paramount (1 hr. 45 min.)
     Washington DC homicide detective Dr. Alex Cross investigates the kidnapping of two children from an exclusive school by a schizophrenic psychopath.
     Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Penelope Ann Miller, Michael Moriarty.
Bottom Line:


   Morgan Freeman reprises his role of Washington D.C. homicide detective Dr. Alex Cross in Along Came A Spider, a spellbinding sequel to 1997’s Kiss The Girls that offers more twist and turns than a Florida election.
   Adapted from James Patterson's best selling first novel in the acclaimed Alex Cross series, Spider begins as the usual Hollywood crime drama fare. Cross loses his partner in a sting operation during a car chase which suspiciously echoes the opening scene from Vertigo when she plunges hundreds of feet to her death.
   Cross is unable to forgive himself for causing his partner’s death. So he goes into retirement and a deep depression. He builds model ships to past the time and is aloof to his wife.
   However, Cross quickly snaps out of his melancholic stupor when Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) a schizophrenic prep school teacher, kidnaps one of his students who is the daughter of a US senator.
   Soneji leaves a piece of evidence belomging to the girl in Crosses’ mailbox and then challenges Cross to catch him before committing, what he calls, the crime of the century.
   Cross arrives on the crime scene and quickly recruits Barbie Doll Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan, (Monica Potter) whose trying desperately to redeem herself to her Washington D.C. superiors, because she was assigned to protect the senator’s daughter. The pair began an investigation to profile the Soneji which leads to a ransom drop off aboard a high-speed train.
   Knowing how notoriously tight the Secret Service is with its information, the concept of cooperation between the organization and a local police detective is rather hard to believe.
   Explaining more about the plot would ruin the ending, because there are mazes of plot twists which keeps the audience guess whether or not Soneji is really the kidnapper, Spider holds the audience’s attention and actually saves the film in the third act from becoming a predictable by-the-numbers march.
   Freeman is convincing and the movie moves effortlessly when he’s on screen. Freeman captivates the audience with his crime scene prowess and can hold that attention with his charisma.
   And the filmmakers should have trusted their instincts because Spider works best when it thinks for itself, and it doesn’t try to assimilate scenes from other motion pictures.
   Having all that said, Along Came A Spider is an engaging and terrific looking film with an enthralling score. Admittedly, it has its fare share of plot holes, such as Cross coming out of retirement and not having to check in or file any paperwork, or how could Soneji get a clearence to teach at the school in the first place.
   But with that forgiven, Along Came A Spider is perfect escapism among the current crop of spring movies.



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