Old 02-26-2003, 01:33 AM
Reviews: Spider

JoBlo's 7/10 review of SPIDER can be found here: http://www.joblo.com/spider.htm

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Old 05-26-2003, 03:43 AM
A realistic examination of schizophrenia

Cronenberg's no Hollywood harlet, nor is he pompous enough to impart upon us any subjectivity regarding the disease, schizophrenia. For admirers of A Beautiful Mind, check any expectations at the cloak room, sit down, and absorb a painfully realistic insight into schizophrenia. See it twice.

There's no happy ending, no love interest, and most importantly, no message for the audience, in Spider. It is purely an examination of schizophrenia, as seen through the mind of a suffer of the disease. The movie is not contrived in order to prevent cringing, and therin lies it's natural, albeit stark, beauty.

Cronenberg proves - yet again - he's his own man, allowing the film to shuffle along at it's mandatory slow pace. After all, we're inside the mind of Spider Cleg, watching him try to slowly unravel important childhood memories, themselves sparked by a return to the very area in which he lived as a child. As Spider closes in on his recollections, be they real or perceived, Cronenberg's examination is fully realised, as he leaves the commentary on - and analysis of - the story, to the audience. The film gives no assurances as to whether certain events actually occur, leaving the audience to draw it's own conclusions. I feel this was an inadvertant slice of ironic pie served up by Cronenberg, who made us struggle for the truth, as hard as Spider.

Ralph Fiennes won't get an Oscar for Spider, as the film does not meet Hollywood's criterium. Hopefully Ralph knows he doesn't need such a tangible pat on the back, as his phenomenal performance has impressed not just the critics, but also the carers of actual schizophrenics. Miranda Richardson brilliantly takes on two roles with seeming ease.

The score was melancholy and sombre, blending easily with the purposefully dark, bland cinematography, especially noticable in interior shots. Noticably longer (than most Hollywood film) scenes were employed to enhance the slow pace, a decision I happily accepted, based on a small cast, and heavily depicted lead character. Continuity editing was refreshingly under-used.

This film is a blunt reminder of how you don't always have to be uplifted, in order feel appreciation . It's therefore almost irrelevant to discuss whether or not the film could be enjoyed on an aesthetic level. Instead, appreciate it's objectivity, painful realism, and supurb performers.


Last edited by Shakamaker; 05-26-2003 at 03:47 AM..
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