Archive for the ‘Along Came a Spider’ Category

87 – Along Came a Spider

October 5, 2001

Morgan Freeman’s quickly becoming the professional weary cop-actor. He was world-weary in Seven, world-weary in Kiss the Girls, and world-weary in this movie, a prequel of sorts to Kiss.

Freeman plays Alex Cross, a detective with baggage (they do seem to have a lot of that in movies, but I think this is one characteristic that carries over fluidly from real life), as his most recent partner died during a stakeout they were running. A senator’s young daughter is kidnapped, and the killer seeks out Cross, who literally wrote the book on profiling serial killers. (Why he would seek out Cross above all other law-enforcement officials isn’t satisfactorally explained beyond the “wrote the book” angle.)

Helping Cross in his quest to find the killer is a young, gorgeous FBI agent (Monica Potter), who had been in charge of the little tyke when she was taken from her elite school (where other offspring of dignitaries are educated). Agent Flannigan blames herself for the situation, and Cross gives her the ol’ “c’mon now, it wasn’t your fault, now what say you and I nab this do-badder?” speech. The speech works, and a temporary partnership is formed.

The most amazing part of the movie is, of course, Freeman himself. His tired, experienced eyes seem to take in everything, and his facial expressions do lend a sense of quick thinking and shrewd analysis. It’s not likely any other actor could have performed in this movie as well as Freeman did; he’s just a perfect fit for the character itself.

As Flannigan, Potter is chirpy, but not one-dimensional. She comes across as an experienced agent, one with her own sort of baggage. Not much attention, however, is paid to her character development; this is Freeman’s show all the way.

The rest of the supporting cast includes Michael Wincott as the baddie, Dylan Baker as the special agent in charge of the investigation (who, at times, seems to be aping Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals), and Michael Moriarity and Penelope Ann Miller as the parents of the kidnapped girl. Moriarty has very, very little to say or do in this movie – in fact, I can only recall one scene in which he spoke – but Miller essays a distinct sense of controlled emotion in each of her scenes. She’s effective and provocative, but in terms of how often her character appears, largely ineffective (plus, she seems to be slumming – wasn’t long ago she’d have had the role Potter had).

I really did like this movie, although I understand that if you’ve read the book by James Patterson, you might be upset at how much was changed – and of course, having read the book might make you a lot more critical than if you approached it for the first time. It’s a tight mystery, well played by almost everyone, especially the solid, steadfast Freeman.

Along Came a Spider: 7