The opening scene for Spider made it clear to me that it wasn’t going to be an easy film. With the lack of background music, minimal dialogs, and a very flat tone to the movie, it was definitely hard to get engrossed in Spider right away.
Aside from these aspects, however, was a brilliant cast which expectedly delivered great acting. Miranda Richardson and Ralph Fiennes gave justice to the characters they were portraying and made us feel one and alive with the stories they each held. It was only when I saw the credits of the film that I realized Miranda Richardson played three roles. At first I thought I was “seeing things” so I ultimately dismissed the thought while watching the movie. “Maybe they just really look alike,” I told myself when I was lost in who played who.
It occurred to me that while this happened and my mind sort of disjointed from the string of events, I was being immersed in the very ordeals a schizophrenic goes through every day. From the confused state of what’s real and what’s fabricated in my mind, I honestly had a very hard time keeping up with myself.
During the scenes where the “mother” was supposedly buried are flashed, especially when Cleg says “I’m sorry.”, I feel a tinge of pain for the character. These were the scenes that really tried to connect with the audience in terms of piercing through the difficulty in matching up the only “real” pieces that are left of a person who is literally lost in his world.
Whenever Cleg mumbles or scribbles in his notebook, I feel like its the only thing thats keeping him sane. If we talk to our parents or friends for advice, he turns to no one but himself to help him out. There’s a certain feeling of elusiveness that Cleg gives out to me. I feel like he wants people to understand him while going through this recall of memory but at the same time, I feel like he wants his own sense of security and privacy as well (seen when he makes an effort to hide his journal).
Spider was a difficult movie to watch maybe because it tackled a complicated illness as well. Distorted realities are even harder to communicate across when film is actually a distorted reality in itself. As the audience, I was working my way through sorting out what was real in life, real in the movie, and real in Cleg’s world. It was like a juggling spree for someone who has never tried juggling before.
I appreciate, though, how the film really illustrated the “reality” of schizophrenia. I thought that they were brutally honest in terms of the emotional stress and physical manifestation of these feelings and how they affect the person diagnosed with it and the people around him/her. I think that filmmakers must create more films such as these as artistic ways to educating the people on the different challenges illnesses bring about to the families of those concerned. I believe that this will be an effective tool in heightening awareness among all people.
Spider is one movie I’ll never forget, but wouldn’t want to watch for the second time around. The pain and distress that comes with is just too real to experience again. I admire how the film was able to get under my skin, but I’m not quite sure if I want that feeling to take over me once more.