DIRECTED BY: David Cronenberg
PLOT: A disturbed man is released from a mental institution and sent to live in a halfway
house. While there, he traces back to his childhood to remember a troubled past and the tragic events that shaped his current mental instability.
WHY IT’S ON THE BORDERLINE: To compile a list of the weirdest movies ever made, one would be hard-pressed not to include Cronenberg’s entire oeuvre. Here, the director eschews the “body horror” that encompassed much of his earlier films and focuses solely on the deterioration of the mind. While this can be just as grotesque as horrors of the flesh, the journey can get so convoluted at times that the weirdness teeters on a fulcrum. Eventually, the confusion weighs too heavy and topples the weirdness into mere befuddlement.
COMMENTS: A cinematic pet peeve of mine was surely tested with this movie. Being American, I shouldn’t have to struggle listening to an English film (i.e., UK-Great Britain). We speak the same tongue, albeit with some slight variances in words and phrases. The cockney accents in this film can get so thick at times I considered reaching for the subtitle button on the remote. To make matters worse, the film focuses on the character of Spider (Fiennes) who mumbles and spews gibberish as a means of communication. Actually, most of his conversations are only with himself. I loathe having to toggle the volume levels up and down. I had to do this for the duration of the film. Aside from this aggravation, Spider is not a bad film; nor is it a great one.
I loved the approach taken in the opening credits. Various textiles and walls are displayed artistically with corrosion and chipped paint, each frame containing a pattern or form that is open to interpretation. It is set up to resemble Rorschach inkblot tests used in the psychiatric field (I must be going mad myself because all I see in them are cool looking demons). These opening credits are effective because they prepare the viewer for a movie that deals with an imbalanced mind. What we perceive to be truth is certainly going to be skewed from the perspective of a protagonist with warped sensibilities.
Spider enters the picture slowly, exiting a train and returning onto the streets of London. Continue reading BORDERLINE WEIRD: SPIDER (2002)