Dennis Clegg (played by Ralph Fiennes), nicknamed “Spider” by his mother years ago, is returning to the community after spending time in a mental institution. He suffers with acute schizophrenia and has been a resident in such establishments for the past 20 years. He has not yet truly recovered, but is well enough to manage himself in the outside world. On this day, he travels to the city by train and finds his way through a grubby, rundown, industrial part of town to his halfway house. He’s scruffily dressed and has little in the way of belongings, so blends into the environment pretty easily. The halfway house Manager is Mrs Wilkinson (by Lynn Redgrave), an ill-tempered, nosey woman who treats all her house-guests gruffly. In his new surroundings, Spider is beset by memories from his childhood – his interactions with his mother Yvonne (by Miranda Richardson), his father Bill (by Gabriel Byrne) and his father’s mistress (also by Miranda Richardson). He constantly scribbles in his notebook and mumbles as he settles himself into a daily life. In Spider’s suffering mind, the memories start to blend with present day real events and we watch as Spider gradually loses his grip on reality once again ….
This is a stunning movie – rich in emotion and psychological intrigue. The directorship is excellent and the design is dark, which echoes the world Spider experiences. I would say this is the best I have ever seen Ralph Fiennes in his portrayal of the troubled Spider. The characrerisation is stunning, he inhabits the role of this broken man marvellously. Another great performance is from Miranda Richardson – it would have been a challenge (and probably an exciting experience) to play two such starkly contrasting roles – as Spider’s mother, and as his father’s wanton mistress. The mood of the film is mysterious and frighening, and the camerawork captures the mood very well. In the 2003 season, the movie won several awards internationally and was nominated for many more – it is based on the novel by Patrick McGrath,
Made in 2002. Directed by David Cronenberg