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Dennis Clegg is in his thirties and lives in a halfway house for the mentally ill in London. Dennis, nicknamed "Spider" by his mother has been institutionalized with acute schizophrenia for some 20 years. He has never truly recovered, however, and as the story progresses we vicariously experience his increasingly fragile grip on reality. —Erwin van Moll <email@example.com>
SPIDER (2003) *** Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne, Bradley Hall, Lynn Redgrave, John Neville. Filmmaker David Cronenberg does it again : mixing psychological drama with Gothic mystery with the cloak of violence in the air with Fiennes (in a brilliantly mannered near mute turn) as the titular character, a schizophrenic recently released to a halfway house, nicknamed in his youth by his mother (Richardson who gives an excellent turn to the third power; she inhibits three interlaced roles that act as the story's linchpin) for his cat's cradle yarn confections which sends his scattershot memories into overdrive as he attempts to connect the missing pieces of his life. Told in intersperses of flashback Cronenberg expertly uses his persuasive powers of dread eke out the thin plottings of Patrick McGrath's novel who adapted the screenplay too that can tax on the nerves in long, baroque stretches of near silence. Dank, rotting production design by Andrew Sanders, excellently lensed by Peter Suschitzky and the chamber music-like score by Howard Shore makes the most of its broken-minded protagonist's living nightmare.
- Mar 5, 2003
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