Short Film Spider Breakdown

Spider Criticism

SPOILER ALERT – Watch Spider at link below before reading:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyhs8dKMTN4&feature=share&list=PLkqVJXH6dME-WweFbFhFt7KozY7H1HBxG

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Critical Analysis of the Short “Spider”

I am a big fan of Dark Comedy so I was immediately drawn to the short film, Spider written by Nash Edgerton / David Michôd and directed by Nash Edgerton (SPIDER, 2010). In order to judge a short film one has to realize it is very different than a feature film, not only in the obvious, length, but how the story is told. A feature has time to develop both character and plot while a short has to be economically efficient. There can be no fat, no time for non-sequitur diatribes, or extraneous information. Everything must be pertinent. Spider accomplishes this task, and does it well.

The film starts with the title card; “It’s all fun and games until someone looses an eye. Mum”. This will become painfully evident as the film progresses.

From Title Card we go to black; abstract sounds are heard, that grab our emotional sense of sound and then as we fade up from black, we (the audience) see traffic passing under a overpass. Perhaps this bridge could be symbolic of a way to span a difficult time or situation . . . Or it could simply be as someone once said, “a banana is sometimes just a banana[1]. It could also be the Director or DP wanted to establish the highway with a very nice Long Shot. The image quickly draws us to a car moving through traffic.

We cut to: the interior of a car, where balanced at both ends of a symmetrical frame we find a man and a woman in a troubled relationship, immediately apparent when he turns on the radio and she very angrily shuts it off. She is also driving and the person in control. The idea of a character being in control or more powerful (at least at the beginning of a story) normally says this person is the antagonist. I’m a male so I immediately identify with the guy in the car. Having, also, been married a few times I easily recognize when a woman is extremely pissed off, so I sympathize with him.

My first inclination is to believe the male could be the protagonist, and that it is his story, and she is the antagonist, She appears to be the outer or physical conflict in the story. But the story is very short and at this point he could be the antagonist. But I can’t identify with being a young angry woman, so it is the male who I also empathize with and I will follow him on this journey. I am now hooked – where will this conflict take us? Will he win her over? We are inquisitive creatures and we want answers to our questions.

He tries to amuse her by threatening to jump out of the car. She tells him, “You always go too far”. This is our protagonist inner conflict, and perhaps the beginning of change for him.

While stopped at a gas station, he grabs some gifts to possibly sweeten her up. He fills the interior of the car with flowers. This may say he is a hopeless romantic and perhaps not the evil person that she believes goes “too far”.

She gets into the car and immediately tosses the flowers aside- she’s not falling for it. More conflict.

He eventually bribes her with chocolate… perhaps the forbidden fruit for this couple.

We finally see a lighter side of her, and find her to be playful as well.

A plastic Spider, he planted, falls on her lap. He is a practical joker.

She’s scared shitless of it and swerves the car into on-coming traffic before eventually turning away and escaping misfortune or a near death experience.

When they pull over we have a sigh of relief having just missed witnessing the demise of our lovely couple.

She immediately exits the car. He’s laughing – To him “It’s all fun and games”.

He says, “It’s not real” while tossing the Spider at her.

Her fear (and perhaps a phobia) makes her quickly jump backwards into a car that slams into her, sending her twenty feet forward. (Some nice After Effects work here.)

(I have to admit this took me completely by surprise. This was a nice set up and payoff by the director.)

Now this dumbass has again went ‘too far” confirming exactly what his girlfriend told him a few minutes earlier.

The remorse, pain, and suffering he is now experiencing is for his going “too far” with his “fun and games”. He has learned what his little practical jokes will do.

As we fade to black and then come up from black, we find him distraught and guilty standing over her while the paramedics try to save her life. (I’m thinking this relationship is definitely over with, and I’ll be thinking twice before putting any more plastic poop on the kitchen floor).

In the last scene the Spider is revealed again and surprises a paramedic who sends a hypodermic needle into our protagonist  who may now, literally, loose an eye.

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TheSquareMovie. “SPIDER Short Film.” YouTube. YouTube, 07 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyhs8dKMTN4&gt;.

[1] Sigmund Freud is often incorrectly quoted as saying this.

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