The Girl in the Spider’s Web Parent Guide
This movie doesn't spin a top-quality web of intrigue: fine actors are bogged down by an overly violent, grandiose plot.
Parent Movie Review
The Girl in the Spider’s Web follows the enigmatic Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) as she accepts a job from fellow Swede, Frans Balder, who is being targeted by a criminal organization known as the Spider Society. Balder tasks Salander with hacking into the USA’s top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) to recover a computer program he created, which he fears may now be dangerous. However, once she becomes involved, Salander finds that Balder is not the only person looking for the program: among the interested parties are an NSA tech trying to recover the lost software, a dangerous gang seeking to sell the program to a mysterious client, Swedish police, and a shadowy figure from Salander’s own past.
As is clear from the grades, this is not what you might call a “family film”. The violence alone, while not necessarily gratuitous, is frequent and occasionally graphic. Blood is shown spraying from gunshot wounds, characters are zapped with tasers and struck with blunt objects, and at least one building explodes. It’s not a slasher flick, but it does get a little messy. The sexual content is another reason sensitive audiences may prefer to avoid this movie. Sexual abuse, while not shown or graphically described, is an important part of the plot and may upset some viewers.
As far as the movie’s artistic merits are concerned, it’s certainly well shot. The dramatic Swedish landscape is brought to the fore in many of the shots and location choices. With many years’ experience of Canadian winters, I can safely assure you that this movie captures what cold looks like. This film isn’t using dehydrated mashed potatoes or shredded paper on a hot set - outdoor shots look genuinely chilly. Indoor sets are cold and impersonal or colorfully lit and unique. The real winner here, however, is the costumes: while admittedly a little over the top, they make the characters instantly recognizable and provide good thematic information.
This film is an adaptation of the fourth installment to the Millennium series, begun by Stieg Larsson and continued by David Lagercrantz, I can’t speak to the faithfulness of this particular production, having stopped my reading at the third book in the series, but I must say that this film gets a little…shark-jumpy. The first book (and associated film adaptation), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, had a narrow scope and focused on the characters’ reactions and emotions rather than grand international drama. The sequels that followed moved increasingly in the latter direction, until we arrive at “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, which feels not unlike a gritty remake of a Sean Connery era James Bond film. Which isn’t to say it’s not entertaining: it makes for an okay thriller in its own right. But when you stop and consider the emotional weight of earlier installments, this film is just disappointing.
At the end of the day, it’s a decent thriller with some clever design and a solid performance from Claire Foy. While it didn’t manage to spin together a top-quality web of intrigue, it did manage to trap some solid actors. Hopefully the spider is feeling benign and it lets them out again.Directed by Fede Alvarez. Starring Kevin Navayne. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release November 9, 2018. Updated November 9, 2018
The Girl in the Spider’s Web
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Girl in the Spider’s Web rated R? The Girl in the Spider’s Web is rated R by the MPAA for violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Violence: A woman is shown bearing serious facial injuries and bleeding from domestic abuse. A man is hoisted into the air, striking his head on the ground, and then shot with a taser. A woman is shot, and the wound is shown bleeding several times and is given a close-up when she attempts to close it with superglue. A man is shown removing a prosthetic nose and upper lip as he describes the torture which caused their removal. A man is shot in the head. A woman has a friend use a staple gun to attempt to close a wound. A man is struck in the head, and it is shown bleeding. A character strikes a man in the head with a crowbar. Multiple individuals are shot. A man jumps out of a window and sustains a graphic compound fracture to the leg. The same man is then struck by a car and flung into the air. A woman is shown bleeding and falls from a cliff to her death.
Sexual Content: A nude woman is shown walking down a hallway from a distance: full frontal nudity is visible. Non-explicit reference is made to child sexual abuse in multiple instances, sometimes inferred to have involved BDSM. A brief tape of a man committing adultery is shown, with no explicit nudity. Several characters are shown walking around their homes in their underwear. A woman is shown in both baths and showers, but without explicit nudity (body seen through steam, fogged glass, etc.) A suitcase full of phallic sex toys is shown.
Profanity: Frequent use of profanity in all categories, including 11 sexual expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Several characters are shown having a drink together in a bar. A character uses alcohol as an anesthetic and antiseptic before attempting surgery on herself. A woman is drugged, and, in an attempt to counteract the sedatives, crushes and snorts prescription amphetamines. The protagonist smokes cigarettes semi-frequently.
Page last updated November 9, 2018
The Girl in the Spider’s Web Parents' Guide
Frans Balder’s son, August is autistic and has savant syndrome. This syndrome is rare but a growing number of people have autism spectrum disorder. What do you know about autism? Do you have friends or relatives who are not neurotypical? What can you do to ensure they feel accepted in your community?
News About "The Girl in the Spider’s Web"
This movie is based on the book by David Lagercrantz, who took over this franchise after the death of Stieg Larsson, author of the books (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest).
Related home video titles:
The Matrix is a beautifully filmed story about a photographer cum computer hacker who questions the nature of reality.
Tron: Legacy pulls its protagonist inside a dangerous digital world…literally.
Looking for a light-hearted spy movie suitable for children? Try Johnny English Strikes Again.