EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: The Child Is Father to the Madman ; FILM: Spider; Filmhouse 1
Sturges, Fiona, The Independent (London, England)
DAVID CRONENBERG's psychodrama is, if nothing else, a contrast to the showy surrealism of his past projects (Naked Lunch, Crash, Existenz). Stark and stripped-down, Spider is as close as this director will ever get to an arthouse movie.
Ralph Fiennes plays a schizophrenic man who moves into a halfway house near where he grew up in east London after being discharged from a mental hospital. As he wanders the streets and visits old haunts, his childhood demons are slowly re-awakened. Spider, so- named because of his habit of building webs out of old bits of twine, finds himself swamped by memories of his mother (Miranda Richardson), a kindly, put-upon figure whom he believes was murdered by his plumber father Bill (Gabriel Byrne).
Very little takes place in the present. At the halfway house (sternly presided over by Lynn Redgrave's Mrs Wilkinson), Spider sits in his room shakily unpicking the threads of his past. When he goes outside he comes face to face with his childhood self (these episodes bring to mind A Christmas Carol - I was half-expecting Fiennes to murmur `Bah! Humbug!'). Often, he can be found lurking behind the door in his mother's kitchen or sitting a few feet away from his father in the local pub.
Spider is a difficult, often infuriating, central figure, …
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Publication information: Article title: EDINBURGH FESTIVAL: The Child Is Father to the Madman ; FILM: Spider; Filmhouse 1. Contributors: Sturges, Fiona - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: August 24, 2002. Page number: 15. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.