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     Toronto's own David Cronenberg tends to make two kinds of films.  First, there are the horror films where people heads explode, like Scanners and The Fly.  And, then there are films about people with weird psychological problems, like Dead Ringers and Crash.  Cronenberg's new film, Spider, falls into the latter category.  The story follows a man (Ralph Fiennes) with severe psychological problems, who is living in a halfway house in England.  He shuffles along mumbling while avoiding most human contact.  He is living more in the past than the present, constantly running scenes from his childhood through his mind while writing gibberish in a notebook.  His landlady (Lynn Redgrave) and a fellow inmate (John Neville) try to get through to Fiennes, but really he is still his childhood self dealing with his hardscrabble upbringing by his parents (Miranda Richardson & Gabriel Byrne). I won't say much more about the plot since like every other movie, I've been seeing these days, Spider has a surprise ending.
     Spider is a very good film.  There isn't much action and what action there is takes place in the mind of Fiennes character, nicknamed Spider by his mother.  The cast members led by Fiennes are all great examples of British character actors.  It's really nice to see Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl, Gods & Monsters) even if her role is a small one.  Similarly, John Neville (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The X Files) shows how to make a lot out of a bit part.  The biggest roles, maybe bigger than Fiennes, are filled admirably by Byrne and Richardson. Byrne is always a joy to watch and this is no exception even though his character isn't exactly likeable.  Richardson (The Crying Game, The Hours) really gets to shine here playing the double role of Spider's mother and the "tart" down at the pub.  
      Spider is all about the workings of Fiennes' character's mind, so twisted by the events of his childhood that he cannot function in the real world as an adult. Cronenberg has done such a great job of creating a crazy man's view of the world that you are mesmerized as you see the events unfold through Spider's eyes.  And the actor's in Spider make it all look effortless.  It's not a happy story but it is nice see the Pro's from Dover at work.