SHORT TAKE

New Zealand Listener - - BOOKS & CULTURE - di­rected by Fede Ál­varez

First it was Noomi Ra­pace with a se­vere mo­hawk and lip­stick the shade of tar. Then Rooney Mara, eye­brow-less and gaunt. Now, Claire Foy ( The Crown, First Man) takes on Lis­beth Sa­lan­der, the pierced and tat­tooed goth hacker hero of Stieg Lars­son’s Mil­len­nium se­ries. In

this adap­ta­tion of the first Sa­lan­der book writ­ten af­ter Lars­son’s death, Foy sports a monk­ish bowl cut. Her hair isn’t the only thing less spikey about the char­ac­ter. Foy dons the cos­tume, but not that in­fa­mous per­sona.

The mak­ers of Spi­der’s Web as­sume we’re up on Sa­lan­der’s his­tory, her cold cun­ning and right­eous vi­o­lence on be­half of abused women. How­ever, the orig­i­nal tril­ogy’s fo­cus on Swedish po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion has been re­placed with a la­bo­ri­ous and silly nu­clear-weapon-hack­ing plot.

Gone is the in­trigue of the orig­i­nal Scan­di­na­vian adap­ta­tions and David Fincher’s 2011 Dragon Tat­too. In­stead, it’s all shud­der­ing fights and tech­nob­a­b­ble.

Sa­lan­der’s rea­sons for hunt­ing cruel men have been re­duced to a mat­ter of sib­ling ri­valry from her dam­aged child­hood, rob­bing her of her most cap­ti­vat­ing and provoca­tive qual­ity.

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