on June 19, 2004
Glossy thriller doesn't measure up to James Patterson's excellent novel but does have great work by Morgan Freeman and enough action and suspense to make for a good film. Alex Cross is on the trail of psychopath Gary Soneji who has kidnapped a young girl from school and murders a schoolteacher for good measure. Monica Potter seems self-conscious and stiff and doesn't breathe enough life into Jezzie Flannigan's character. Penelope Ann Miller is fine as the distraught mother of the missing girl and Mika Boorem is heroic and resourceful as the kidnapped Megan. The film's opening sequence of a helicopter surveillance of Soneji with Cross' female partner in harm's way provides one of the movie's best moments. Jerry Goldsmith's music score is moody and understated and is a great asset to the movie.
on April 22, 2004
The daughter of Senator Rose is kidnapped by her "teacher"; another teacher is killed. This crazy killer hides young Megan Rose, and calls Dr. Cross, a profiler. (How did this "teacher" pass his background checks?) The problem is to recover Megan Rose unhurt by solving this crime. The Secret Service agent who failed to protect Megan Rose partners with this profiler whose previous partner was killed on the job (an omen?).
Dr. Cross discovers a clue hidden away in a digital photograph. (This crime is modeled after the Lindbergh kidnapping.) Megan Rose tries to escape, the man who tries to help her is killed by kidnapper Songee. There is an attempt to meet another student that goes awry, almost trapping Songee! The police seem to be closing in. Songee calls for $10 million in untraceable diamonds, but this call can't be traced. (Have they no Caller ID?) A series of phone calls leads Dr. Cross to the transit system to deliver the ransom. While this pair discuss the case, Songee invades their house to question them! (Believable?) This mistake leads to Songee's death. But Songee never got the ransom! Is there another criminal involved? The brains behind this plot is a killer! Now Megan Rose knows too much, and must be silenced. But Dr. Cross arrives to stop the killer and save Megan Rose.
This is an entertaining story with plot twists; but the final ending seems incredible to me.
on April 18, 2004
It seems as though I am in the minority with this film. I enjoyed the plot twists, though you had to follow them carefully. If you were watching you could, in theory, figure out who the bad guys are, though you really do not have all the facts to truly figure out every detail, somewhat like a Sherlock Holmes story.
Our story focuses on one Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott), who has carefully planned to kidnap the daughter of U.S. Senator Hank Rose, unconvincingly played by Michael Moriarty. The point of the kidnapping is not to kidnap Megan (Mika Boreem), but to get access to a foreign diplomat's son, who is good friends with Megan. Mr. Soneji is, as might be guessed, a bit of a wacko. He wants Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), a famous profiler, to chronicle the battle of wits between them. Ultimately there is a showdown between the two of them, but the showdown does not reveal the location of Megan.
The plot twists and thickens more, and yet, there were clues in several places, I thought. I was quite puzzled when the security guards went running out the front of the school instead of just closing the gates. Further, I thought someone would have at least tried to grab a car to follow the kidnapper. Later, Jezzie Flanagan (Monica Potter) has a chance to shoot the kidnapper and does not, though she seemed to have a chance to wound him. All these little tidbits hint at the convolutions within the plot that are revealed only near the end of the movie.
The convolutions did entertain me, and I got much more enjoyment out of trying to figure out the plot than with gunshots and car chases. However, I prefer "Murder, She Wrote," "Columbo," and "Sherlock Holmes" to movies with nearly all action and no intelligence in their plot. When you watch this movie, you do have to pay attention or you will lose direction, and you will see more plot holes than there actually are. I thought nearly everything was explained as the movie progressed, and the only plot holes were mistakes by those involved in the kidnapping of Megan.
There were four standout actors in this film. Morgan Freeman is excellent, as usual, as Alex Cross. Michael Wincott is quite convincing as the marginally sane Gary Soneji. Monica Potter brings a good balance of strength and vulnerability to her role as Secret Service Agent Jezzie Flanagan. The real surprise performance is by Mika Boreem as Megan Rose. Megan tries very hard to get away throughout the movie, and uses her head continuously, incidentally saving her own life. Mika's performance is better than many of the adult actors in this film, and bodes well for a future career in acting.
It could just be that I'm getting older, and car chases and flying bullets just are not as enjoyable as they once were. Or it could be that I just liked the intellectual challenge of unraveling the threads of the complicated plot. In any case, this movie is clearly not for everyone, but I would love to watch it again.
on March 12, 2004
I love James Patterson novels with all my heart, but this movie is the epitome of why you should never see a movie based on a book. The book was awesome, tense, and a definate page turner. The movie, is in one word, CRAP. The ending was so completely different that the fact that they screwed up the entire plot line is ALMOST pointless to mention.
First of all, in the book, Gary Soneji kidnapped TWO children, not one, and after they left that out the rest of the movie is irrelavent. If you liked this movie, but haven't read the book, go read it, please. You will see that some books just cannot be scripted for the big screen. Secondly, I also read that they are coming out with a movie for "Roses Are Red" and that this too, will differ from the book in several ways, so I will not even bother with it. (Go to [...] and read the interview on there for yourself) I own EVERY single James Patterson book on the market and I have to say that I couldn't have been more disappointed in this movie no matter what they tried to do with it... If you have read the book, this one is a MUST PASS!
on January 28, 2004
If you were a HUGE fan of this book by James Patterson, then keep in mind this is merely based off the book. There are parts that are left out of the movie that could've otherwise been included. The story is the same but other things could've been differentiated.
Matt Whittman plays Gary Soneji, a kidnapper at a private school who kidnaps the senator's daughter. Morgan Freeman plays Detective Alex Cross on his trail. Monica Potter plays Jezzie Flanagan, Cross' alias in getting Soneji.
I guess the first annoyance of this movie is that its only "based" off the book. So a lot is changed around. The beginning starts off with Cross' partner (and it isn't Sampson for those of you who read the book) in a car with a killer and eventually action comes into play and she's soon killed off merely 5 minutes into the movie (not including the opening credits). There's the attention grabber...unfortunately the movie can only go downhill from there.
Gary Soneji is very out of character. This isn't bad for those who haven't read the book. But the movie fails to show depth to Soneji's character. This isn't just Soneji but Alex Cross as well. The characters in the movie feel wooden at times. The dialogue is pretty corny at times so likewise most characters feel the same.
The other part that annoys me is in the book they constantly told you that Gary Soneji wanted to commit the crime of the century. In the movie there is no motivation whatsoever so you wonder "What is Soneji's motive?" "Why is he doing this?" Believe me you'll learn that it isn't for money.
The plot twist wasn't done too well either. We're supposed to believe that the senator's daughter was kidnapped from the boat Soneji imprisoned her on when we NEVER see it happen! You wonder how she got to her new location near the end of the movie.
Lastly, the ending. With a few exceptions its easy to say the ending is usually changed for the worst and in this movie IT WAS FOR THE WORST! Alex finds the girl and then it just...ends. No falling action or resolution it just ends.
If you really loved the book the movie will more than likely disappoint you. If you didn't read the book the movie has a "Love/Hate" relationship. I'm sure that if you haven't read the book you could pull the movie apart.
on September 14, 2003
A good cast and good director are largely wasted here due to a completely incoherent script. I have not read the James Patterson novel that it is based on, but I gather from other reviewers that it is radically different, and in ways that probably should have been retained in the film. This movie just left me scratching my head. No motivation for character's actions, incomphrensible police/forensic work, "plot twists" that come out of nowhere, etc. One of the worst -- the little kidnapped girl disappears from the kidnappers boat, but we are never told how this happens (she's locked in securely). Horrible CGI special effects that look cartoonish and totally phony.
About all I can say positive is that Morgan Freeman and Michael Wincott, along with Monica Potter, Michael Moriarity and several other good actors, try valiantly to use talent and charisma to make SOMETHING of the material, but with a script this incoherent they didn't stand a chance.
This is not even worth a rental, unless you are completely desperate on a rainy evening and there is absolutely nothing else to watch.
on July 31, 2003
"Along Came A Spider" can make a slow evening pass very quickly.
The plot centers on the kidnapping of a Senator's young daughter from her private school. The kidnapper then gets in touch with famed criminal psychologist Alex Delaware (Morgan Freeman)in an effort to impress him. Delaware has recently lost his partner due to a mistake on his part. To track down the kidnapper, he enlists the help of a beautiful young secret service agent (Monica Potter), who was stationed at the girl's school and is being blamed for the kidnapping. So both individuals are wounded from their past mistakes and anxious to succeed again.
The movie then follows the twists and turns of the duo's efforts to solve the kidnapping. Several plot twists near the end (which I won't go into so as not to ruin the viewing experience) vastly improve the movie. The actors are very strong: Morgan Freeman is particularly moving as Alex Delaware and the young actress who plays the kidnapping victim, Megan Ann Rose, is wonderful.
I would recommend this movie to those individuals who enjoy the thriller/mystery genre. While you certainly can find a better movie in this category, you also can find a number of poorer ones. And, once again, the twists are pretty good...
on June 13, 2003
A kidnapped victim, a police detective in need of redemption, a rookie secret service agent in search of a mentor, a perverted villain: this movie has all the elements of a good psychological thriller. So why does it fail, so miserably? It's probably because the spider is so concerned with casting a complex web that it gets tangled in the process. In the middle of the movie, various plot twists lead the movie into a different direction that's not in the least bit compatible with its beginning. True, it makes the story unpredictable; it also makes the events in the story highly improbably, and the characters highly inconsistent. There are a few intense, dramatic moments, such as the scene where the police detective (played aptly by Morgan Freeman), aided by electronic tracing devices, attempts to deliver the ransom, following the kidnapper's cryptic instructions from one phone booth to another, with barely enough time to get from point A to point B. But that's about all that's redeeming in this movie.
The rest of the movie is a complete nonsense. The smart cop commits a stupid error (by shooting and killing the only one person who can lead him to the victim); good cops reveal that they're not that good after all (but no convincing explanation is given). It seems to me this spider starts out as a kidnap-and-ransom thriller, then becomes a relationship drama (an experienced cop and a rookie developing an emotional, tactical codependency), but finally transforms into something about inevitable destiny ("You do what you are," announces the villain). Not even Freeman can untangle this messy web. This spider really bugs me--and not in a good way.
on April 5, 2003
I took a chance on this movie because it stars Morgan Freeman and my experience is that he is a good, reliable actor. That opinion was not challenged by his performance in "Along Came a Spider". This movie starts out with a bang and doesn't slow down much after that. The plot gets a little complicated at times and I'm not sure I can tell you why everything that happened did happen. However, the action and the twists and turns make this an enjoyable two hours. It suffers somewhat by the typical thriller complaints; everything had to happen just so in order for the events to unfold the way they were planned to. There was a lot relying on the right split-second decisions being made and, with children involved, correctly predicting their moves at the right time. My kids complain that I always ruin a good movie by pointing out the improbabilities of various plot directions. Thus I will not belabor the point here. With that in mind I think that this is a movie that has plenty of action with a somewhat cerebral plot. If you enjoy that type of movie you will enjoy this one as well. I would give it a 3 1/2 but it falls short of a higher rating.
on March 20, 2003
Aside from the opening car crash sequence that looked like something out of an arcade game, the first half of this movie was going somewhere. The plot was surprising and interesting. Morgan Freeman's dialogue was fun and worth watching. Michael Wincott plays an excellent villian (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo) and he was going somewhere with this one. Toward the middle though, the solid movie became mush. Monica Potter delivered one of the worst acting performances that I have ever seen. She is not as bad as Keanu Reeves, but she is close to his equal (as a woman). Anyway, the "surprise ending" was not much of a surprise. It you watch this movie and get into the first half, turn it off halfway through and you'll be satisfied, wanting more. If you keep watching though, you'll be unsatisfied, wishing that you hadn't waisted your time. It's not worth it. Its R rating reflects violence and a few cuss words. For a good Morgan Freeman detective flick, definitely see Seven instead.