A psychological thriller at its core, Spider doesn’t fall short of the unsettling and uneasy atmosphere that it generates thanks largely in particular to the unique and troubled character of the schizophrenic Spider. Ralph Fiennes is amazing in his title role, and effectively communicates the troubled nature of this character. Throughout the entire the movie the story is told as a flashback from Spider’s point of view, however what is so unique is how the present-time character of Spider is juxtaposed next to that of the young Spider in the same scenes.
What I enjoyed about the film was how it was told, it was unique and very different from most movies that revolved around a murder mystery that made heavy use of flashbacks. The contrast between that of the grown-up Spider and his young self made for a great character study and really showcased the troubled nature of this man. A film that has a schizophrenic as its protagonist may seem lost and susceptible to confusing the audience, however director David Cronenberg has done an amazing job in keeping the disturbed atmosphere throughout the motion picture whilst never leaving the audience abandoned by the mind boggling nature of Spider and his memories.
Personally however, I felt that the film was a bit too disturbing for me to enjoy, as great as the plot was and as amazing a character that Spider is, the schizophrenic and freaky nature of Spider himself left me detached from the film, I never found that angle which I cold relate with. Thus given the nature of the film, the twist at the end wasn’t all that surprising and should have come to be expected given the variables present in the movie. A film that I feel will only be understood the more times it is viewed, I don’t think it has provoked enough interest in me for a second viewing.
Despite the unsettling ambiance of the film, what I did love about it was the crime-solving like characteristic of Spider. I love mysteries and Spider didn’t fall short of that as Ralph Fiennes tries to retrace his steps in what led to the murder of his mother. However, given his state of mind, everything that was put on screen was left to be questioned regardless due to his schizophrenic nature. I felt that it left way too many loose-ends as there wasn’t a clear cut way of determining whether what we were seeing was a figment of Spider’s imagination or perhaps in fact reality. Although the “web-weaving” of Spider served as a metaphor for his mind and how he constructs it to see what he wants to see, when it boils down to it, this story could be nothing more than the imagination of a schizophrenic gone wild with no truth to it at all.
Ultimately, Spider is a character driven film and done so to near-perfection by Ralph Fiennes and his co-stars. Miranda Richardson is fantastic as well showcasing her talent as an actress is playing multiple roles so convincingly as to boggle the mind even further. By the film’s end, although left with somewhat of a conclusion, leaves much to be desired and left up to personal interpretation which I personally like. It encourages one to dig deep into the characters of the film and deduce for one’s self whether certain event did in fact transpire or if it was all simply a part of Spider’s unique and troubled mind.