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:: Along Came a Spider

Morgan Freeman reprises the role of police detective Dr Alex Cross from the movie “Kiss The Girls”. The seemingly ageless Freeman is a natural for the role. He is smart, confident and trustworthy. He is worth watching in helping to elevate the Alex Cross mystery films from ordinary thrillers. He’s always believable.

In “Along Came A Spider”, the famous Washington crime investigator is on a leave of absence. He is feeling guilty because of the recent death of his young detective partner during a miscalculated sting. Due to his fame, Cross gets called back to action when a kidnapper leaves a calling card in his mailbox. Teacher Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott) has kidnapped the daughter of a US Senator and is determined to be known for this infamous incident. This is the “perfect crime” and Soneji wants to be in the history books. He somehow managed to prise the girl right under the noses of the Secret Service.

Cross recruits young Secret Service agent Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter) to help him. She had been on duty at the exclusive private school and feels responsible for what had happened. As they begin to ferret out clues indicative of Soneji’s true identity and whereabouts, they discover that his plan is more complex than first imagined – and an even craftier web of manipulation is revealed.

As mentioned earlier, Freeman’s character takes control and he assumes the quiet intelligence that typifies his work. His comic cop-banter with the much younger Monica Potter adds charm and humour in the mix of comedy with the violence. Potter, who we’d seen earlier this year in “Head Over Heels”, makes a good impression although, to some observers, she may seem too attractive to act as a tough Secret Service agent. Young Mika Boorem, as the kidnapped victim, is terrific as a captive who refuses to play the ball. She is bright and resourceful throughout. Other characters, like the girl’s parents and the FBI chief (Dylan Baker) are slightly wasted and underused.

Most of the movie’s questions are answered by the plot turns in Marc Moss’s screenplay, but some viewers may be too indignant over perceived flaws to pay attention. The movie’s set pieces, especially one of the young girl’s escape attempts and Cross’s ransom “drop” on the train are riveting. The movie is capably directed and, although these stories are too often over-scrutinised, it is a fast and engaging thriller. Morgan Freeman ensures it’s worth a look.

Screening on general release including Dendy Brighton Cinemas