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Along Came a Spider
2001 - R - Mins.
Director: Lee Tamahori
Written By: Marc Moss
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Dylan Baker, Mika Boorem
Review by: John Ulmer
   
The film starts. I watch eagerly. I am instantly unimpressed. I go on, and a half hour into the film I start to think, "What an average thriller." But then something wonderful happens. Something I didn't expect.

And now I like this movie.

The film stars Morgan Freeman, reprising his role of Alex Cross from "Kiss the Girls." In the beginning of the film we are shown a stake-out-type police act go terribly wrong, ending in Cross' partner dying. Eight months later he is summoned to another case that involves a senator's daughter being kidnapped by a disguised schoolteacher. The woman that was supposed to watch the girl, Jezzie Flannigan (Monica "Julia Roberts-lookalike" Potter), volunteers to help Cross find the kidnapper, and so the game is on.

Perhaps the best thing about this thriller is that I didn't expect any twists in the plot. That's why I was so unimpressed in the beginning. I enjoyed this movie about ten times more than most people, probably just because I didn't expect any surprise plot bits. I really didn't.

The trailer made it look like an average flick. But this is good, because I didn't expect any plot twists. I remember watching a commercial for "The Others" with Nicole Kidman. On the advert they quote a critic, saying, "With a surprise twist that will leave you breathless." This really lowered the enjoyablity of "The Others," because I knew there was a plot twist, and it ruined it. The whole time I kept thinking, "What's the twist? What's the twist?" And guess what? I guessed it half way through.

But that is not the case with "Along Came a Spider." Though it is not a great thriller by any means, I really, truly was surprised by the ending and that's why I think commercials for films should not give away plot twists, even if they just mention there's a twist in the film. (Although the purpose of a review is to read about the film, the reader has the choice not to read; on TV, they flash the commercial with quotes at you before you can change the channel.)

I have to agree that Monica Potter looks very much like Julia Roberts, the only difference being she can act about ten times better than Roberts. Well, at least two times better.

Morgan Freeman redeems himself after "Chain Reaction," and serves up a good -- if watered down -- performance.

The only thing I thought that SHOULD have been better compared to could have been better is the car accident in the beginning. It looked like a computer game processor had served up the scene. The car looked very unrealistic and cartoonish. But other than that there were only a few flaws worth REALLY picking on.

All in all, in the end, overall (my favorite closing lines), "Along Came a Spider" is in no way a great thriller, but an enjoyable one, with a surprise twist not revealed to me on the commercial (thank goodness). Worth catching some time when it crosses your way.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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