for Internet Movie Database entry)
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
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
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.