Perhaps David Cronenberg’s most psychological film to date, Spider is a profound human drama that weaves together a web of memory, isolation, and secrets. Ralph Fiennes stars as Spider, a mentally-disturbed man who takes residence in a halfway-house. While there, he plumbs the depths of his psyche to remember why he has ended up as the fractured man he is. Figures of his past are played with both enigma and sharpness by Miranda Richardson and Gabriel Byrne as Cronenberg crafts a discomforting, atmospheric, and rewarding viewing experience.
Playing in competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival, Spider is seen as one of Cronenberg’s most profound films due to its intense focus on character, mood, and setting (Spider’s childhood home is particularly jarring). Add to that a transfixing supporting performance from Richardson, and Spider is one of the filmmaker’s films with the most lasting aftertaste.