starring Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne, Bradley Hall
screenplay by Patrick McGrath and David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Patrick McGrath
directed by David Cronenberg
by Travis Mackenzie Hoover After a period of indifferent projects, declining audiences, and three years of disconcerting silence, the unthinkable has become reality: David Cronenberg is back on top. His new film Spider intensifies all of his past thematic concerns with a pictorial eloquence practically unheard of in his oeuvre--it's like watching one of the sex-slugs from Shivers turn into a beautiful, fragile butterfly. For once, the trials of his sexually confused lead resonate beyond the merely theoretical, and for once, you feel his pain instead of contemplating it from a distance. The antiseptic restraint of Crash and Naked Lunch has been replaced with a dread and sadness that overwhelm you with their emotionalism; Spider is easily the best film he's made since Dead Ringers, possibly even since Videodrome. I hope that it marks a turning point in the career of Canada's most conspicuous auteur.