I was always fond of films with stories about schizophrenia or psychology in general. Human behavior is something that I enjoy observing because there are more than a million different ways of how people behave. Since I know people who have experienced schizophrenia, I am more drawn to watching films about it.
Spider, for me, is a typical yet ambiguous psychodrama film. During the whole film, it was focused on the protagonist, Mr. Denise “Spider” Cleg. The typical quality to it was that you’d know that there was already something wrong with him. His actions were so awkward and unusual. In addition, his social skills were lost in his own mind. He, talking to himself in mumbles was sort of a giveaway that there was something wrong with this man. With this idea and watching films related to schizophrenia, I thought that he’d be a very dangerous man. I usually thought that films like this would focus on murders and such. But this is where the ambiguity comes in. Mr. Cleg in the beginning was not the usual schizophrenic man. He seemed gentle and harmless even if he didn’t really talk to anyone. This changed however in the climax of the film.
This movie like we talked about in class is all about memory. In this movie there was a fusion of present Spider and past Spider (when he was a little boy). In showing the past, I thought I’d find the answer to my question of how he became that way. I thought through the childhood memories I’d find the cause of his sickness. What was shown, however, was not the cause but actually evidence of emphasis on his schizophrenia. I liked the way the memories were presented in the film because there was no division or clear separation of the present and the past. While Mr. Cleg was going back to the events of past Spider, present Spider would be there as well. It was like he was a witness to his past. It was never explained why he was going back to those memories but I believe that that was going on inside his head. I think that as he grew up, this is what his entire mind was processing. The story of his parents, especially the mother and Yvonne was so hazy because there was certainly no closure if there really was an Yvonne. It was schematic how the three girls (his mother, Yvonne and Mrs. Wilkinson) tattooed in Mr. Cleg’s memory bank turned out to have the same face. I found it strange that there was this transformation. Viewers already first saw a glimpse of Yvonne’s real face and Mrs. Wilkinson’s. I think with this switch, it put emphasis that Mr. Cleg’s memories were all converging in confusion. With this confusion, I couldn’t make any conclusions. I couldn’t put the puzzle pieces together. I kind of saw it coming that he actually killed his mother when he was a kid. But then I still couldn’t finalize if there really was an Yvonne and the affair with the father. Knowing that Mr. Cleg was sick, I already couldn’t trust any of the events that were happening. Discussing in class that this film directed a subjective experience of schizophrenia, I kind of conclude that Mr. Cleg was just totally confused with everything. His mind was like a spider web he was making. There’d be straight lines of thread but there wasn’t an end nor was there a beginning. It was all over the place but for some odd reason, it kept him at peace. It made him feel safe and protected within those threads so he probably finds solace within his memories. Although these memories for the viewers were lost in confusion at some point, they pretty much served as direction for Mr. Cleg. And with being able to go back to his confusing memories, he was able to stop himself from killing Mrs. Wilkinson at the present. Moreover, he was sort of able to return to a “normal state” realizing that he killed his mother but for people outside his head, he became more unusual.
Spider is a heavy, pitiful and confusing movie to watch but in my experience, it was easy to watch. I liked it because the characters were easy to love. Although the setting was dull and there wasn’t much color, the story and characters were the colors. It may be long and tiring to watch, it still left an emotional impact on me.