This is the film that "Shine" and A Beautiful Mind could not be, a story about schizophrenia that doesnt neatly resolve its complex subject matter.
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It isn't likely to drive anybody out of the theater -- although getting people out of the house to see a meticulous, minimalist study of madness and memory may be another story.
The most elegantly crafted and confidently directed of all his (Cronenberg's) films, it's a calm, chilling portrait of a blighted soul and, just as calmly but quite stunningly, an evocation of the thought processes behind the blight.
Cronenbergs nonlinear narrative is trying at times it keeps you nearly as off-kilter as the characters, and surely thats intentional but as a character piece about madness and stymied dreams, its remarkably realistic.
His story is sad, compelling and morbidly, tragically watchable.
Spider as a character is a fantasizing detective, but the movie is no Singing Detective (the high-water mark of the sub-genre). This film rarely rises above a murmur.
A shocker for devotees of stylish angst and psychological torment. You'll have to watch it with patience and great attention, but it richly rewards that patience.
This is the kind of well-made movie you wish well but you don't particularly wish to see again.
What catches us in Spider's web -- besides the indelible performances of Fiennes and Richardson -- is the director's sympathy with this freak man-child who struggles to order his confused memories into a kind of truth.
This is a rare adaptation where the script (by McGrath himself) heads straight for the novel's horrible essence, reproducing it non-verbally and in an even more concentrated form.