From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The film premiered at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival and enjoyed some media buzz; however, it was released in only a few theaters at the year's end by distributor Sony Pictures Classics. Nonetheless, the film enjoyed much acclaim by critics and especially by Cronenberg enthusiasts. The film garnered a Best Director award at the Canadian Genie Awards. The stars of the film, Ralph Fiennes and particularly Miranda Richardson, received several awards for their work in the film.
During a Question and Answer session at the Kodak Lecture Series in May 2005, Cronenberg revealed that neither he, Fiennes, Richardson, nor the producers received any sort of salary during the shooting of the film. All chose to waive their salaries so the money could be used to fund the under-funded production.
Spider is an exploration of a schizophrenic mind told through the eyes of a son who watches his father murder his mother and replace her with his mistress. Years later, the son, now a grown man, is released from a mental institution and begins piecing together his memories to recreate the fateful childhood event.
Central themes of the film include memory and the unreliability thereof. The film also shares common themes with other Cronenberg films, including the blur between reality and hallucination. The main character often places himself within his memories.
- Ralph Fiennes as Dennis "Spider" Cleg
- Bradley Hall as Dennis "Spider" Cleg (Young)
- Miranda Richardson as Yvonne / Mrs. Cleg (Dennis' mother)
- Gabriel Byrne as Bill Cleg (Dennis' father)
- Lynn Redgrave as Mrs. Wilkinson
- John Neville as Terrence
On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 85% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 126 reviews. On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 83 out of 100, based on 35 reviews. It was voted for in the 2002 Sight & Sound Poll by Amy Taubin, who ranked it 10th.