TABLE OF CONTENTS

film

Spider

DAVID CRONENBERG’S SPIDER stars Ralph Fiennes as a mentally disturbed man whose web of defenses unravels when he’s transferred from an asylum to a halfway house in the squalid East End London neighborhood where he lived as a child. The film—which premiered at Cannes in May and opens this month in New York and Los Angeles—is adapted from the 1990 novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath, who also wrote the screenplay. An astonishing balancing act, Spider is both faithful to the novel and a distinctly Cronenbergian work. In both form and meaning, it is the most impeccably realized and rarefied film of the director’s career.

Even more austere than Crash (1996) but suffused with a tenderness reminiscent of Dead Ringers (1988), Spider is an existential tragedy about impossible love—specifically, about the longing to return to a lost childhood paradise defined by the symbiotic bond between mother

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