Working from Patrick McGrath's adaptation of his own novel, Cronenberg creates his most meticulously controlled and, perhaps, his finest film to date. Fiennes is extraordinarily persuasive as the closed-off Spider, released into the community - or at least a dismal halfway-house in London's East End - after years in a mental hospital. Revisiting his childhood haunts, he begins to disinter and relive his experiences as a child, particularly his painfully strong feelings towards his mother (Richardson) and plumber father (Byrne). It's primarily the precision - of performance, pacing, writing, camerawork and especially design - that make this Freudian drama so involving, though Cronenberg's ability to establish and sustain a relentlessly grim mood while simultaneously accumulating a wealth of telling details also deserves mention. Byrne gives one of his best performances yet, while Richardson's richly nuanced work in several 'roles' is hugely impressive.

Release details

Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Cronenberg
Screenwriter: Patrick McGrath
Cast: Lynn Redgrave
John Neville
Gabriel Byrne
Bradley Hall
Ralph Fiennes
Miranda Richardson
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