But, Insanity Used To Be So Cool!
Writ. Patrick McGrath
Dir. David Cronenberg
Str. Ralph Feinnes, Miranda Richardson, Gabriel Byrne
first you are blown away by the carefulness of every shot,
and the depth which Felines sinks to achieve his character.
He loses himself completely in the titular role and you
forget who you're looking at. Likewise Cronenberg delivers
(for him at least) a very subdued movie, where normally
he would throw phones at us made out of decomposing limbs
or turn poor Julian Sands into an house-boy eating insect,
he turns the craziness inwards and lets it all shine out
through the character of Spider and the dark alleyways he
haunts. At first it's really quite amazing. But Feinnes'
Spider spends the entire film hunched over stumbling around
his childhood streets piecing together a deeply troubling
past; he is so remote, so out of it, that the audience doesn't
get to experience his insanity, it's more like we're some
random rubber-nekcer following this guy around town. The
movie lets us in on very little and we are left up to our
own opinions of what's going on.
At first I was like "Wow! this guy is so damn crazy.
And the streets are so damned dingy. It reminds me of when
I was a teenager and I hated everything. It's like Heathers
only with more dirt and lots of prostitutes. Woo Hoo! Bring
it on!" But then, much like with adolescent angst,
I got really tired of it. I think the problem here is that
it's all a little too real. I think that if I actually met
someone who was as totally daft as Spider, I would probably
not like him all that much. I would probably get as far
away from him as I could. As much as you want to feel sorry
for the coot, as much as you know you should pity him, he
is so completely cut off from the world and from the film
(I think he says maybe two words that are actually in comprehendible
English) that you can't really empathize with him at all.
He is too far gone to ask for sympathy. And then the darkness
of the movie starts to really get to you. It begins to feel
The acting is what keeps the movie afloat. Miranda Richardson
is one of my favorite, and one of the most underrated, British
actors, Gabriel Byrne is quite comfortable and adept at
playing Spider's Father, and Felines is so lost in his role,
he's not even Ralph Felines anymore. These three wander
around the painfully ugly sets and manage to bring a little
breath of life to the movie. But only a little, and it's
not nearly enough.
One poorly knotted rope
I hate giving anything away, even in a movie as tepid as
Spider, but there's a twist at the end of the movie that
you will so totally see coming. And unlike Ordinary Sinners,
you see it coming from about 45 minutes away, and it takes
so damn long to get to the end you will actually feel like
killing yourself. Which is exactly what Cronenberg was going
for, I think. Very clever.
Two slugs, goo and all
The story of Spider is slow, it's virtually at a stand still,
inching along methodically and deliberately, and ploddingly.
And after the movie is over you feel weighed down with it,
heavy and wet from what you've just sat through.
Two seriously delusional way messed up hipsters
In the end Spider is needlessly dark. The real problem is
it doesn't drag you down into the darkness, rather forcing
you to watch these poor souls suffer from so far away that
you just stop caring about them. However the acting is quite
good from Richardson, Byrne and Feinnes, which makes it
worth seeing if you're into any of those three.