In the beginning, our protagonist, named Spiderhead in the novel by author José Saramago that this article is about, was a simple man living on a small farm outside of Vila Nova de Gaia. After he witnesses, his wife trying to get rid of their youngest son’s tarantula as they prepare for a trip to the local markets with their other sons and daughter-in-law — a spectacularly violent act — Spiderhead reflects on his life and realizes just how much he should have changed. He feels that he wasn’t able to protect his family and concludes it may be best if he leaves them forever.
What is the plot of the story?
The story begins with José Saramago’s description of the Spiderhead’s farm. After a few paragraphs, we learn that he is living in modern-day Portugal. As we read along, we come to realize that the family is not doing well financially. Wife and mother Catalina, the Spiderhead’s wife, becomes more and more insistent on leaving the farm for life in Lisbon where she can work as a housekeeper for different wealthy families. The Spiderhead opposes this plan but doesn’t try to stop her from leaving for Lisbon with their children and daughter-in-law. Before she leaves, she viciously kills his tarantula in front of him, making him feel powerless and lost.
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Who is in the cast? What role did each character portray?
The cast includes Miles Teller, Chris Hemsworth, Johansson, and the Spiderhead himself, the latter being played by Viggo Mortensen. The Spiderhead’s wife, Catalina, was played by Natalie Portman. Chris Hemsworth, who plays the husband, is best known for his starring role in the Marvel comic blockbuster The Avengers and Thor movies. He trained with Brazilian boxing champion Vinny Pazienza for eight months to prepare for the role. Natalie Portman, who plays Catalina in this movie, has appeared in many movies such as Black Swan and Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
What are the difficulties they face?
When the Spiderhead arrives in Lisbon with his two eldest sons, he is shocked by the odd behavior of the people: everyone seems to be indifferent towards each other’s presence. It seems anyone can talk to anyone without even bothering to hesitate or take a moment to consider whether they know that individual or not. The Spiderhead’s two firstborn sons are affected as well, and their new way of behaving soon starts becoming a problem for their father and their younger brother Luciano. They start getting into frequent confrontations with people on the streets of Lisbon because they no longer seem to respect other people.
What are the themes?
The movie Spiderhead explores themes like oppression, isolation, and a sense of normality. The Spiderhead family wants to fit in and have a decent life which is only possible if they move to Lisbon from their home. But the move does not prove to be what they expect at all. They start getting into trouble with the police for fighting with other people. One night, their father runs into an old acquaintance named Ernesto. He tells the Spiderhead and his son’s stories about how he can predict when people are going to die by looking at their eyes, without ever being wrong once in his life.
Who is the antagonist? What are its motives?
The Spiderhead’s own family becomes the biggest obstacle for him. Even though he tries to be a good and helpful father, his family’s behavior makes life in Lisbon very hard for him. This causes him to start seeing danger everywhere, even when he is confronted with things that aren’t dangerous at all. The police take notice of the family’s strange behavior and begin arresting them all day long to test the validity of the Spiderhead’s obsession with their strange intentions. They keep on arresting them until they can no longer stand it and leave on their own accord, but not without having contacted the rest of the family first, who have remained in Lisbon with Ernesto.
What are the epic scenes?
When the Spiderhead is walking with his youngest son Luciano in the alleys of Lisbon, they find Ernesto who tells them that he has been led to believe that he will die in a few days. After Ernesto confesses his belief that death is imminent and there isn’t much the Spiderhead can do about it, Luciano steps in to remind him of some of the good things in this world. Death is not something to be feared, but a release from all the pain and suffering we go through while alive.
Would you recommend watching this?
The English version of Spiderhead is quite good and you’ll get to learn a lot of Portuguese slang in the process. I’d say the English version isn’t as good as the Portuguese version, but it’s a pretty decent one. It’s hard to tell if this movie is good or not without seeing it, but I hope it’s worth trying. Thanks for reading!
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