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Spider (2002)

  Directed by: David Cronenberg
Written by: Patrick McGrath
Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Ralph Fiennes, Lynn Redgrave, Miranda Richardson
Links: Spider on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"What a tangled web we weave..." - a review by pearly

My mum doesn't recommend movies often. When she does, it's usually not because she's seen them, but because of something she's heard, or someone else she knows who has see it. In fact, she doesn't even really recommend them, she usually just asks what I thought of them, but in a way that means that if I haven't seen them, I want to see them. This happened first with Fargo (1996) and now with Spider. So far, mum has a 100% strike rate.

Spider reminds me of that great Aussie movie Bad Boy Bubby (1993), both in subject matter, and the portrayal of the lead characters. Ralph Fiennes is better than I have ever seen him before, and you can't really go too far wrong having Gabriel Byrne and Miranda Richardson as his parents.

Ralph plays Spider, a man with a mental illness which worsens when he moves from an institute to a halfway house, and begins to remember events from his past. The adult Spider wanders through the events of the child Spider, and seeing these events with new eyes. It works well.

My biggest criticism is that the adaptation from the novel (which was done by its author Patrick McGrath) contains some sections which, not having read the book, were a little confusing, and didn't seem to tie back into the main part of the story. This is, I'm sure, part of the challenge of adapting a novel into a movie, with the aim of pleasing both people who have previously read the book, as well as people hearing the story for the first time through the movie. The criticism is a small one though, as it didn't detract too much from the movie, I just figured I must have missed something along the way.

The other movie that I was reminded of whilst watching Spider was Se7en (1995). The thing that made the connection were the little diaries that Spider kept writing in - quite reminiscent (if on a lesser scale) of the diaries of John Doe.

Definitely the kind of film you can watch on one level, and then think about on multiple other levels when thinking about it later. For that matter, definitely the kind of movie you can think about a lot after seeing it, and start to change your ideas of exactly what happened. A complex film that would probably be even better as a novel.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 28 Nov 2003

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Reader comments

  1. ...wow...

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from sarah on Fri 19 Mar 2004 20:57 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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