The Spider in the Web is a convoluted and confusing spy story that has only one real truth to tell, if you wear a mask for most of your life then you may not recognize yourself when you take it off.
Adereth (Ben Kingsley) has spent his life working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. The successes he achieves compensate for his personal sacrifice. Eventually he needs the pats on the back and the feeling of being useful to avoid regretting what he has missed in life. As he gets older the successes become less frequent, his contacts less valuable. He cannot bare the idea that once he is no longer a spy he will not matter.
Rather than fade away he chooses to start embellishing the reports he gets from his contacts. One particularly sexed up dossier results in 50,000 troops amassing on the border of Syria. It can’t last. But just as he is discovered to be crying wolf he finds real info that might save his reputation, and the life he has forfeited by lying.
Spider in the Web, directed by Eran Riklis, is no Bond style spy thriller. There is no Mission Impossible tech high jinks. The only car chases appear to be in fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, sensible vehicles. It relies on a visually mundane reality that gets obscured by a series of deceits.
The film has a logical inevitability. If a lie is effective it takes on a life of its own beyond the control of the liar. Kingsley, bitter yet accepting, plays the guy trying to grind out some personal redemption in a situation where no one will believe him if he does. Or does he? The script keeps us guessing, but because it does, it gets hard to root for any character as they all may not be what they seem.
Spider in the Web manages to convincingly weave what it must be like to live as just another liar amongst many. The over-complicated plot twists, however, will leave many scratching their heads. Ironically the main romance, between Kingsley and Monica Bellucci, is inspired by a concocted chemical spill but fails to show any chemistry at all. Whilst it is a break from the breathlessness of many thrillers this story about liars lying is a challenge to care too much about.
Review by Andrew Hebden
Queerguru Correspondent Andrew Hebden is a MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES graduate spending his career between London, Beijing and NYC as an expert in media and social trends. As part of the expanding minimalist FIRE movement he recently returned to the UK and lives in Soho. He devotes as much time as possible to the movies, theatre and the gym. His favorite thing is to try something (anything) new every day.