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Canada, United Kingdom, France · 2002
Rated R · 1h 38m
Director David Cronenberg
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne, Lynn Redgrave
Genre Drama, Mystery, Thriller

After being released from a mental institution, a disturbed man takes residence in a halfway house. As he roams around his decrepit surroundings, his mind gradually slips back into the realm created by his illness, where he replays painful childhood memories of domestic abuse and violence.

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Film Threat by

This is the film that "Shine" and A Beautiful Mind could not be, a story about schizophrenia that doesn’t neatly resolve its complex subject matter.


Salon by Andrew O'Hehir

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.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

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.


Austin Chronicle by Marc Savlov

Cronenberg’s nonlinear narrative is trying at times – it keeps you nearly as off-kilter as the characters, and surely that’s intentional – but as a character piece about madness and stymied dreams, it’s remarkably realistic.


Baltimore Sun by Michael Sragow

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.


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

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.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

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.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Rick Groen

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.

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