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Film / Along Came a Spider

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The second Alex Cross film adaptation starring Morgan Freeman, which was released in the year 2001. It was directed by Lee Tamahori, and has a supporting cast including Monica Potter, Michael Wincott, Dylan Baker, Billy Burke, Michael Moriarty, Penelope Ann Miller, and a young Anton Yelchin.

Megan Rose (Mika Boorem), the daughter of a U.S. Senator, is kidnapped from a private school, and the perpetrator, computer-science teacher Gary Soneji (Wincott), challenges detective Alex Cross (Freeman) to catch him. As Cross attempts to find Soneji, he soon discovers that the seemingly simple crime is a part of something more complex than first anticipated...

This film has examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: The film removes most of Flannigan’s guilt over the kidnapping, and has her kill DeVine and later try to do the same to Maggie.
  • Age Lift: Cross is implied by the original book to be in his forties or early fifties, and Freeman was 63 at the time when the film was made.
  • All for Nothing: Both Soneji and Jezzie live just long enough to experience their grand schemes which they had gambled their entire futures on completely collapse around them. Soneji's one shot at kidnapping the son of the Russian President is thwarted, and he knows he'll never get another chance, while Jezzie realizes once she's confronted by Cross that she's been found out and her life is over.
  • Artistic License – History: The quote used by Gary Soneji, "They say that when I die, the case will die. They say it'll be like a book I close. But the book, it will never close." were supposed to have been Bruno Richard Hauptmann's last words before being executed, meant to indicate that Soneji was copycatting the Lindbergh kidnapping. According to reporters present at Hauptmann's execution, however, he did not make any statement.
  • The Atoner: Jezzie becomes Cross's partner to make up for failing to stop Soneji from kidnapping Megan. And then averted big time after The Reveal.
  • Big Bad: Gary Soneji, who kidnaps Megan Rose to play games with the authorities. He is eventually upstaged by Jezzie Flannigan, who seeks to profit greatly from his kidnapping of Megan.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Gary Soneji, a narcissistic sociopath who kidnaps Megan to garner attention, and corrupt Secret Service Agents Flannigan and DeVine, who seek to profit off of the kidnapping.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Jezzie takes care of her co-conspirator DeVine.
  • Chekhov's Gun: As he's visiting Agent Flannigan's home, Cross admires a shotgun that her dad won from a poker game. It is later used against Soneji when he crashes the place.
  • Continuity Nod: An article about the Casanova killer from Kiss the Girls can be seen when Cross goes through Jezzie Flannigan's computer.
  • Criminal Mind Games: After kidnapping Megan, Soneji contacts Cross to start a game between him and the authorities, so that he'll be "properly appreciated".
  • Dead Man's Hand: Aces and eights is referenced as the winning hand that gave ownership of a Turkish hand-made shotgun to the father of Agent Flannigan and later features a clue that reveals her involvement with the kidnapping plot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Secret Service Agent Ben DeVine.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In the book, Soneji ended up being arrested. It is furthermore found out that his crime was a result of suffering from dissociative identity disorder, resulting in him getting sentenced to incarceration and treatment at a secure psychiatric hospital in lieu of a prison sentence. The film sees him killed by Cross as he directly confronts him, and attempts to abduct Flannigan.
    • Flannigan is killed in a confrontation with Cross, when in the book she lived to see her execution.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When confronted by Cross with evidence of her complicity in Megan's kidnapping, Jezzie Flannigan comes close to tears as she realizes that her life and her career were now ruined. Faced with execution if she surrendered to Cross, Flannigan tries to shoot him only for Cross to shoot her in the heart.
  • Dirty Cop: Flannigan and DeVine are revealed to be this.
  • Enhance Button: Cross uses this to spot a clue Soneji had intentionally left behind.
  • Evil Plan: In order to become as infamous as Bruno Hauptmann of Linbergh baby kidnapping, Soneji kidnaps Megan in order to reel in an even greater catch: her classmate Dimitri, the son of the Russian president.
  • Fair Cop: Jezzie.
  • Futile Hand Reach: Cross and Tracy futilely reach for each other just before the car she's in falls down at the end of the opening scene.
  • Groin Attack: Tracy shoots a suspect in the groin when he attacks her.
  • Guttural Growler: Soneji, which is a given considering he's played by Michael Wincott.
  • I Have Your Wife: Megan is kidnapped and ostensibly held for ransom by notoriety-seeking wackjobs. Just when it seems it can't get any worse than that, Cross learns that his own partner masterminded the ransom scheme and now means to kill the poor girl.
  • Hope Spot: Megan manages to escape from Soneji's boat after starting a fire below decks to distract him and is able to attract the attention of a fisherman who comes to her aid. Just when he's within reach of her Soneji guns him down in front of Megan before recapturing her.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Played straight then subverted . The Secret Service chief McArthur is at first cagey and defensive about having a simple detective like Cross being brought in to lead the case, but later approaches him and apologizes, says he thinks jurisdiction arguments are "a massive waste of time", and then asks what he can do to help.
  • Latex Perfection: Soneji worked as a teacher in the school he kidnaps Megan from for two years, and is able to disguise himself by wearing a foam rubber mask.
  • Little Miss Badass: A downplayed example, but Megan is extremely resourceful and daring, managing to stage a nearly succesful escape from Soneji and Flannigan.
  • Motive Rant: Shorter and subtler than most. Soneji mentions his excitement at being in the papers after he burned down his family home with his abusive parents inside, while Jezzie offhandedly mentions how she felt slighted by being permanently assigned to Cathedral to take care of kids instead of a more prestigious Secret Service assignment such as Air Force One or the Presidential protection detail.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Agent Flannigan mentions the significance of the phrase "Aces & Eights" to her, while she's using it as a password to her computer.
  • Pop the Tires: Cross shoots one of the tires of the police cruiser Soneji has hijacked.
  • Ransom Drop: After Soneji's plot to kidnap Dimitri, the son of the Russian president is foiled, the authorities get a call from him demanding ten million dollars in exchange for Megan Rose's life, and Cross has to make the hand-off. After being forced to follow the requisite convoluted path, he's made to jump on a train just before the doors close, and then, while it's moving, break the windows and throw the ransom out.
  • The Reveal: Agent Jezzie Flannigan, who partnered up with Cross to help with the kidnapping case, is revealed to have been in the know on Soneji's plan so that she and her partner Agent Devine can profit from it by stealing her from him, and asking for a ransom of ten million dollars.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Soneji tells Cross that he killed his parents by burning their house down. He also insinuates that's what inspired him to seek fame in crime.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The aforementioned suspect choosing to accelerate and escape when being held at gunpoint and while closely pursued by a police helicopter. The end result is him getting shot in the groin the moment he does this, the aforementioned crash, and his subsequent fall off a dam.
  • Wham Line: As Cross and McArthur look over the footage of Soneji's kidnapping in Megan's school after Soneji is killed.
    Cross: (watching the footage of DeVine chasing after Soneji on foot) Tell me, what do you see?
    McArthur: DeVine doing his damndest to catch Soneji.
    Cross: But the gates are wide open. (points to the school's security system) They could have had the entire building on lockdown from here.
    McArthur: My God. DeVine and Soneji were in on it together. He double-crossed DeVine at the embassy!
    Cross: Soneji was too much of a loner for that. Having an accomplice was beneath him. Soneji was hoodwinked, and so were we.
  • Spanner in the Works: What undoes the plan is when Soneji attacks Cross and Jezzie; while the later is out Cross and Soneji talk, and Soneji is genuinely confused when the ransom money is brought up, which is what ultimately clues Cross in that there's more than one party at play.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • While Agent DeVine has reservations about shooting Megan after the ransom is collected, his partner in crime Agent Flannigan doesn't share the sentiment, which she expresses by shooting him first and than unloading two magazines on Megan in her attempt to kill her.
    • Soneji decides to shoot Megan after his kidnapping attempt on Dmitri fails.