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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the schizoid mind under Cronenberg's peculiar stamp, 7 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: Spider [DVD] (2002) (DVD)
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. Fiennes is Mr. Cleg, a schizophrenic man who has left a mental asylum for the first time since his childhood. Checking into a halfway house in his old neighborhood, run by a tough old matron, he goes about exploring his childhood haunts, mixing past and present in painful recollections of some kind of a trauma. This technique is extremely effective in showing not just the disarray of his mind, but also his slippery hold on reality.

The story that emerges has meaning, i.e. his illness is not merely a "chemical imbalance" but linked to experience. As it unfolds, he portrays his family: a loving mother, a cold and apparently abusive father, whose relationship with a local hooker disrupts their home. All the while, Cleg is writing down his ideas in code in a tiny notebook that he hides. As the process progresses, the viewer can see how he is fighting to see the truth, in spite of the lies he has weaved around himself like the webs that obsess him. It is remarkable how well each piece fits as in a puzzle. When it emerges, the truth is far worse than what he imagined (which I won't give away).

Fiennes is amazing in the role. He has to show all the inner turmoil by his gestures and posture, which exude the broken state of his self and mind. It is so believable it is painful to watch.

I would recommend renting this - you won't want to watch it again. But it is a masterpiece.
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Location: Balmette Talloires, France

Top Reviewer Ranking: 598