Spider in the Web: A John le Carré-esque Thriller

Angela (Monica Bellucci) and Adereth (Ben Kingsley) in Spider in the Web. Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.

It’s a busy summer for films about the Israeli Mossad because Spider in the Web is the third such film to be released in just over a month.

For the second time in a month, another thriller gets released in the vein of John le Carré.   Moreover, it’s the second of the trio to feature Ben Kingsley.  While The Red Sea Diving Resort had Kingsley portray a superior in a supporting role, he’s front and center in this one.

In the newest film from director Eran Riklis, we see a tale of two different Mossad agents.  Adereth (Ben Kingsley) is said to be one of the best field agents.  Yet as he journeys on a train from Belgium to Holland, it appears that Mossad doesn’t trust him.  The agents decides to send another agent, Daniel (Itay Tiran), to keep a watch over him.  Could Adereth’s days in the field be numbered?

The train ride ends on violently.  Meanwhile, Adereth soon finds himself settling a debt from the past.  Basically, Daniel watching over Adereth is making his job impossible.  Meanwhile, Monica (Monica Bellucci) enters the picture.  Is she good or bad?  Honestly, we just don’t know.  Those in the spy services think that Adereth no longer has anything under his control.  All the while, Daniel finds himself bonding with the spy nearly twice his age.  Adereth has a wealth of experience in the field when compared to the younger agent.  Together, the two of them are certainly on quite the journey together.

The thing about John le Carré-esque thrillers that I find most problematic is the pacing.  Honestly, it’s just too slow for my liking.  You might find it more comfortably paced than I did.  Let’s just say that it’s a far cry from the likes of James Bond.  Unlike the Bond films, Spider in the Web isn’t an action thriller.  It’s more of a character-driven thriller, which again might or might not be to your liking.  I found it coming off as similar to The Operative from earlier this month.

Despite the slower pace, this is still a film that could very well resonate with the climate on a global level.  Adereth and Daniel are two very different agents.  They are at different places in their career.  All the while, we’re watching Adereth playing out his fears.  Is he still relevant as an agent?  Or is he going to be forced out of a job?  Time will certainly tell.  Meanwhile, we’re watching a filmmaker touch upon themes in a spy movie while they could fit in nicely in another genre.  Above all, Spider in the Web is a film about trust.

DIRECTOR:  Eran Riklis
SCREENWRITERS:  Gidon Maron, Emmanuel Naccahe
CAST:  Ben Kingsley, Monica Bellucci, Itay Tiran

Vertical Entertainment opens Spider in the Web in theaters and VOD on August 30, 2019. Grade: 3/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.