Along Came a Spider

Rated: R
Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter

Two things make this a solid, enjoyable thriller: Morgan Freeman, reprising his role as top criminologist/profiler Alex Cross (from Kiss the Girls), who makes everything look easy and the excellent pacing set by screenwriter Marc Moss and director Lee Tamahori. Actually, one more thing: despite a measure of violence, it’s a lot less gory than it could have been.

The story revolves around the kidnapping of Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), a senator’s daughter, from a elite prep school in the D.C. suburbs that caters to the international set. Her kidnapping occurs despite the fact that the school is crawling with secret service agents at every door and security guards around every bend.

Alex Cross (Freeman), recovering from the loss of his female partner eight months earlier, gets sucked into the case when the well-studied kidnapper sends him an invitation in the form of key evidence stuck in his mailbox. Now all Cross has to do is explain to everyone why the kidnapper chose him and, of course, find the victim. So, with the help of Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), the agent on whose watch the kid disappeared, Cross investigates and deduces while little miss kidnap victim does her best to escape the clutches of the demented ‘weirdo’ Gary Soneji (nicely played by Michael Wincott). One wonders what they’ve been teaching at that school of Megan’s. She seems a little too adept at escape techniques for your average 12 (or so) year old. As for the school … what no metal detectors?

The rhythm keeps things going so well that you don’t have much time to think too hard about such implausibilities and you’re willing to go with the flow. Freeman is so natural and believable – that helps too. The rest of the cast is fine. Michael Moriarty plays Senator Rose and Penelope Ann Miller plays his wife Lauren – both upset parents but at least we’re not subjected to the usual overly frantic, threatening kind often seen in such films. And, Dylan Baker as secret service agent Ollie MacArthur, set the tone nicely for cooperation between the government and police department, another break from stereotyping story elements.

Lotta says:
Along Came A Spider makes for a nicely threaded thriller if you don’t examine it to death.

Reviewed 4/6/01