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Spider (2003)

Ralph Fiennes , Miranda Richardson , David Cronenberg  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 29, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000F4MA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,089 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Spider" on IMDb

Special Features

  • "In the Beginning: How Spider Came to Be" featurette
  • "Weaving the Web: The Making of Spider" featurette
  • "Caught in Spider's Web: The Cast" featurette

Editorial Reviews

Spider (Ralph Fiennes) is in a constant struggle to overcome a traumatic event early in his life. He has been allowed a second chance at life after a long stay in a mental institution and returns to the streets where he grew up; sent to a halfway house under the stern but unsupervised watch of Mrs.Wilkenson (Lynn Redgrave). The sights, sounds and smells of revisiting the familiar streets of his old neighborhood send Spider further down a shadowy path that reawakens memories of his where his mother (Miranda Richardson) and his father (Gabriel Byrne) raised him. He soon begins to uncover the real truth shifting seamlessly back and forth between the tragic events that polarized a boy's adolescence to the shell of a man enduring the surreal plausible reality of today.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This movie is a strange mood piece with a tremendous performance by Ralph Fiennes as a man who's been released from a mental institution and has returned to the London neighborhood where he grew up. The nature of his illness is deliberately unclear. We simply watch as familiar surroundings trigger disturbing memories of his boyhood, and through them we slowly piece together his story.
The mood is set by a long, long tracking shot as the movie begins, as passengers disembark from a train in a large London terminal. The camera seems to be searching through this throng for someone in particular, and after what seems like an eternity, Fiennes as Spider emerges painfully and awkwardly onto the platform with a beat-up suitcase. And we are plunged from a scene of everyday activity into his world, which is far, far removed from the everyday and ordinary.
There's a twilight-zone kind of ambiance in the movie, as the camera shows us interiors and exteriors that are typically empty of furnishings and people. Street scenes, for instance, have no passing traffic, no pedestrians, not even cars parked at curbs. The lighting is often like stage lighting, coming from unexpected sources and providing an eerie flatness. The soundtrack alternates between strange rumbling noises, a small group of strings experimenting with mournful dissonance, and a lovely old-fashioned ballad that Spider remembers from childhood.
The supporting actors are wonderful, as they waver in our perception between what their characters really are and how they appear to Spider. Miranda Richardson has the task of playing three different characters, each as Spider sees them. Gabriel Byrne and Lynne Redgrave in brief scenes give richly nuanced performances.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WITHOUT A DOUBT, CRONENBERG'S MASTERPIECE... September 24, 2003
...and that takes absolutely NOTHING away from the stunning contributions from everyone involved in this project. As soon as I read Patrick McGrath's incredible novel a few years ago, I knew I had discovered something wonderfully unique - then I read that there were plans for a film, with McGrath writing the screenplay - and when the pieces began to fall into place (Ralph Fiennes in the title role, along with Miranda Richardson and Lynn Redgrave, with David Cronenberg directing) I knew that the film would be something very special indeed. I was almost afraid to see it when it appeared in theatres (delayed for months in the US after its European release, evidently to keep it from being confused with SPIDER-MAN) - I feared that I had built up my expectations to a degree that they could not be fulfilled. I needn't have worried - the film floored me completely, from the performances by the great actors named above, to Cronenberg's masterful direction, to the perfect set design, Howard Shore's dead-on score, everything. This is as perfect an adaptation as a film could be. I couldn't wait for the DVD to come out, so I could view the film and have the ability to stop it and run it back in order to absorb all of its nuances.
It's also a difficult review to write - the plot twists are so delicious, and so perfectly rendered in the film, but to reveal too much about them would spoil it for any potential viewers. I'll try my best not to do that - I don't want to deprive anyone of the full effect. I have to agree wholeheartedly with another reviewer below when he states that `Hitchcock would have killed' to direct this story, and that it quite possibly surpasses anything that Hitchcock ever did (how many contemporary films could you say THAT about, and mean it...?).
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Realistic representation of madness. October 31, 2003
This is a disturbing film because its depiction of madness conveys an astonishing realism. Director, David Cronenberg, (Crash, Naked Lunch and The Fly) has managed to merge the leading character's disquieting mind with the audience. This is no small task considering the subject matter, and the fact that the protagonist is suffering from intense delusions concerning his past. We see through the eyes of Spider - the memories of his childhood, though as the tale unfolds, we begin to distrust his memories and see that they blend with fantasy. The film is a study on the mechanics of repression, and the psychological notion that memory cannot be trusted.
Spider (Ralph Fiennes) arrives at a halfway house somewhere in London. Mrs Wilkinson, (Lynne Redgrave) meets him at the door. This woman is everything you would expect from a proprietor of a house for newly released mental patients. It is here that we begin to learn of Spider's childhood: his relationship with his mother and father, which is the key to the cause of his present condition. Miranda Richardson plays three different roles in the film - Spider's mother, the prostitute and later, the proprietor of the halfway house. The mother and the prostitute are entirely different, but the proprietor is an impressive blending of all three. As we learn more about Spider's childhood, we really don't know what to make of his father (Gabriel Burne) he an abusive man, an adulterer and drunk or merely a man doing his best to cope with an unhappy marriage? Gabriel Burne admitted that this was one of the hardest roles he's had to do, because he had to play the character on a fine line, so as not to give anything away to the audience. When you see the end of the film, you'll agree that he succeeded in his intended performance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
SLOW AND BORING. I miss the old Cronenberg...
Published 1 month ago by some guy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this movie! Received on time. Disc in great shape.
Published 3 months ago by Kimberly Shinabery
4.0 out of 5 stars not your typical adrenaline-filled action flic ...
ralph fiennes is an excellent actor,.. and chronenberg is an excellent director

this is why i purchased this dvd, .. did not, exactly, expect ... what i got! Read more
Published 9 months ago by R. Holloway
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie - Miranda Richardson is truely a world class actress
I have to admit that the first time I saw this on cable TV I almost changed the channel about 20 minutes in. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Guitarfreak
3.0 out of 5 stars I really wanted to like it but it just wasn't good enough
I find David Cronenburg's movies hit or miss but always worth taking a chance. For me, this was one of those misses. Read more
Published 15 months ago by ViolentMetaphor
5.0 out of 5 stars Spider
This film is amazing and a must have for any Ralph Fiennes fan. I love this film so much. Love
Published 16 months ago by Jo
1.0 out of 5 stars Depressing AND Boring
I love Ray Fiennes, and his acting was good, but the subject matter was a drag. Wouldn't recommend to anyone unless maybe a shrink was interested in the study of it.
Published 16 months ago by Tricia Vestal
5.0 out of 5 stars No Exit
Written by Patrick McGrath, based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath; directed by David Cronenberg; starring Ralph Fiennes ("Spider" Cleg), Miranda Richardson (Mrs. Read more
Published on February 3, 2012 by Jonathan Stover
4.0 out of 5 stars the schizoid mind under Cronenberg's peculiar stamp
Rather than his usual niche market of perversity and naked violence, Cronenberg has made an excellent arthouse film about the struggle of a disturbed man who returns home. Read more
Published on January 4, 2012 by Robert J. Crawford
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply unbelievably awesome
In my opinion, this is Ralph Fiennes's best acting job, ever. This is not about cool or dark story. It is about his character. Read more
Published on September 30, 2011 by Abdul Fazrul
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