Wednesday, July 3, 2013


After spending time in a mental institution, a severely disturbed man (Ralph Fiennes) enters an austere halfway house under the care of a dour proprietor (Lynn Redgrave). There he remembers a horrendous incident of his youth involving involving his mother (Miranda Richardson), father (Gabriel Byrne), and his father's mistress (Richardson again). David Cronenberg's Spider, like most of his pictures, is cold, morbid, and relentlessly bleak, while also being impeccably directed and picturesquely framed. Fiennes' work is strong as usual and Richardson delivers not one but two standout performances. Cronenberg is a master filmmaker, even if his icy films occasionally keep you at arm's length. Here, I began to appreciate his frugality as a director, how he never presents more than is needed and how his films always feel exactly the right length.