The girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, returns in a propulsive action-thriller that reinvents the character as a Bourne-like super agent tasked with retrieving a software program that could trigger nuclear annihilation.
Based on the fourth novel in the Millennium saga (written by the late Stieg Larsson’s successor, David Lagercrantz) and set three years after Lisbeth played with fire and kicked the hornet’s nest, The Girl in the Spider’s Web finds the surly goth hacker still punishing men who mistreat women when she isn’t taking on dangerous assignments like downloading the aforementioned program, which enables the world’s nuclear arsenal to be launched from any old laptop.
After being contacted by the developer (Stephen Merchant), a former NSA employee who has realised the program shouldn’t exist let alone belong to the US, Lisbeth promptly snatches it from the server and is subsequently pursued by an NSA agent, the Swedish Secret Service and a shady organisation known as The Spiders, with links to the Russians and Lisbeth’s past.
Claire Foy – the third actor to don Lisbeth’s leathers following Noomi Rapace and Rooney Mara – slips into the role as effortlessly and unobtrusively as Jodie Whittaker did with Doctor Who. Even Millennium fans who consider Rapace’s portrayal as definitive are likely to be won over by Foy’s energetic interpretation. She’s the star of the show now, with journalist colleague Mikael Bolmqvist (Sverrir Gudnason) relegated to the sidelines and somewhat superfluous here.
If you want a psychological profile on Lisbeth, it’s all there in the original Swedish film trilogy – the emphasis here is on full-throttle thrills, not depth. The Girl in the Spider’s Web is no Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but director Fede Alvarez (who turned up the tension in Don’t Breathe and the Evil Dead remake) does manage to spin a slick and undemanding espionage yarn frosted with Nordic noir.
In cinemas: November 8, 2018
Starring: Claire Foy, Stephen Merchant,Sverrir Gudnason
Directed by: Fede Alvarez