Along Came A Spider - Lee Tamahori

Alex Cross returns, to face a kidnapper with a game all his own.

While the movie title is reminiscent of a nursery rhyme, the spirit of the film is far from it. It’s the kind of movie you enjoy watching, and although you’d probably mull over the story an hour later, nothing is captivating enough to take back home.

The resurrection of the police detective Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), from the 1997 hit “Kiss The Girls”, lends this movie a new puzzle to solve. Like its predecessor, this too is adapted from writer James Patterson’s novel of the same name. The film is one among many mystery thrillers, all of which, given a decent storyline, are bound to hold your attention for as long as they last.

It tells of the kidnapping of a senator’s 12-yr old daughter, Megan Rose (Mika Boorem) from her exclusive day-school. The kidnapper is her tutor Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott), who, having secured the girl, lures police detective and profiler Dr. Cross into a game of analytical pursuit. Ransom not being the motive, he hopes to acclaim a position as criminal of the century by masterminding a coup that, he is convinced, only Dr. Cross will unearth.

Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), a Secret Service agent assigned to the school, decides to assist Cross in his game plan, to make amends for her failure to prevent the kidnapping.

The movie is a racy start-to-finish gallop that seldom runs slack. With a close-knit script, creditable cinematography, and some gripping action sequences, this may not exactly be an eye-popper, but it does engage your attention. Veteran actor Morgan Freeman exudes his characteristic confidence and plays the role to a T. While he might have stolen the show, Michael Wincott, playing the debauched psychopath, is truly fantastic. Revealing a multi-faceted character that can pan effortlessly from a hard-faced bad guy to an apologetic mariner to a concerned custodian, he sheds new light on the conventional criminal.

Unpredictable plot twists, well-seasoned actors and good direction make for a well-spent afternoon.

This article was first published on 01 Aug 2001.