Along Came a Spider (Blu-ray)
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Victor, South Africa. 10 July 2014
A kidnapping thriller that stars Morgan Freeman, explicitly reprising his role as - the criminal profiler Alex Cross - who first appeared in 1997 in Kiss the Girls with Ashley Judd - and, implicitly, his persona from movies like Seven. He is the wise, fatherly cop schooled in the mentality of the wackos, called in when a mysterious predator Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) snatches the pre-teen daughter of a senator from her fancy private school. Cross is helped out by the feisty-yet-vulnerable secret service agent Jezzie Flannigan who was supposed to be looking out for the little girl in the first place, so she's got something to prove. Flannigan is played by Monica Potter, a star with china-doll-like beauty and acting ability.
Until approximately halfway through, the drama proceeds on familiar lines, with the kidnapper taunting and playing "mind games" with his pursuers on the phone, leaving weirdo clues through websites, and occasionally treating himself to a Malkovich-flavoured tantrum. But then the plot is up-ended by an enormous and unexpected twist, a great big Chubby Checker-sized hip-swivelling twist - which utterly cancels out the dramatic import of everything that has been accumulating over the previous hour. Basically, a new kidnapping plot begins here, a kidnapping plot which is all about money and not psycho stuff, and this plot is not really melded into the first in any satisfactory way.
Freeman is a class act, though, and his rumbling bass voice always means he can carry off a scene with a certain style, however absurdly written. Eventually, though, for a psycho thriller to work, the psycho in question has to be fascinating and scary - and this one is just tiresome.
Region B - Includes most European and Middle-Eastern countries, all of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.