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Along Came a Spider

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Along Came a Spider

Starring: Monica Potter, Morgan Freeman
Director: Lee Tamahori
Rated: R
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: April 2001
Genre: Suspense

*Also starring: Michael Wincott, Jay O. Sanders, Dylan Baker, Raoul Ganeev, Billy Burke, Michael Moriarty, Penelope Ann Miller

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Morgan Freeman is back as savvy Washington D.C. police detective Alex Cross in this psychological suspense thriller adapted from James Patterson's novel, actually a prequel to "Kiss the Girls." The story begins as Cross retreats into retirement after the death of his partner but catapults into action when Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), the 12 year-old daughter of a Senator, is kidnapped from her posh private school, right under the nose of Jezzie Flannigan (Monica Potter), the Secret Service agent in charge of security. As Cross is watching the news on TV, his phone rings and the electronically altered voice of Gary Soneji, the kidnapper (Michael Wincott), tells him to look in his mailbox. There sits the girl's shoe. It seems this psychopath wants to copy the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping, committing another "crime of the century." So, while the Feds don't appreciate his involvement, Cross has credible expertise they don't have - like using tiny details to profile Soneji as "a spider." So does disgraced Jezzie Flannigan, who's distraught that she "dropped the ball." So it's their job not only to find Soneji but to rescue Megan Rose.

Marc Moss's well-constructed script actually improves on the novel, adding unexpected twists and turns, involving double-crosses, deception and duplicity. And director Lee Tamahori keeps the pace fast and the tension taut, staging an intricate race through the streets of Washington, D.C., culminating in a convoluted ransom drop. There are several problems involving logic, not the least being that the Secret Service does not protect children of Senators, but on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Along Came a Spider" is slick, solid, escapist 8. It's great to see an actor as classy and good as Morgan Freeman propelling a franchise like this.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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