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USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Helkon SK
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne, Bradley Hall, Lynn Redgrave, John Neville, Gary Reineke, Philip Craig
Director: David Cronenberg
Countries: France / Canada / UK
USA: 98 mins
UK: 99 mins
USA Rated: R for sexuality, brief violence and language
UK Certificate: 15 contains disturbing behaviour and infrequent strong language
USA Release Date: 28 February 2003 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 3 January 2003
David Cronenberg's powerful psychological thriller, SPIDER, stars leading British actor Ralph Fiennes (THE ENGLISH PATIENT) as Spider in the title role, with 10-year-old newcomer Bradley Hall playing Spider as a young boy. The stellar supporting cast includes Miranda Richardson (DAMAGE, CHICKEN RUN), Gabriel Byrne (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, ENEMY OF THE STATE), Lynn Redgrave (GODS AND MONSTERS, SHINE) and John Neville (THE FIFTH ELEMENT). Acclaimed novelist Patrick McGrath (THE GROTESQUE) adapted the screenplay from his own novel.
Spider (Ralph Fiennes) is a strange and lonely man. After a long period in a mental institution, he returns to the streets of the East End of London where he grew up. The sights and sounds and the smells of those streets begin to awaken the deeply buried memories of his childhood. At the centre of these memories is the great trauma of losing his mother (Miranda Richardson), a trauma which occurred, he believes, because his plumber father, Bill Cleg, (Gabriel Byrne), murdered her in order to move a prostitute, Yvonne (also Miranda Richardson), into the house in her place.
The halfway house to which Spider is sent when he is released from the institution is run by Mrs. Wilkinson (Lynn Redgrave). A stern woman, Mrs. Wilkinson rules her residents with a good deal of rigour and discipline. This is not an ideal landlady for a man as sensitive and fragile as Spider, and he soon begins to confuse her with his childhood nemesis, Yvonne.
Terrence (John Neville), who lives in the boarding house, is Spider's lifeline, the one individual who is able to talk to and, on some strange level, understand him. But not even Terrence can save Spider from the spiralling madness into which he seems to be descending as he starts to visit his childhood haunts. Soon, Spider's attempts to sustain his delusional account of his past begin to unravel as he is driven to believe that Mrs. Wilkinson is actually Yvonne-the woman who he believes destroyed his family and was responsible for the death of his mother.
As Spider claws through the falsehoods he has woven around himself, he begins to arrive at the truth about his childhood and about his mother's death. The truth will take him to the very limits of his faltering sanity...