Spader's onscreen proclivities for money, drugs, and fast women are
a necessary part of his job. But in real life he's a family man, and
latest roles, as a doctor in Sideny Lumet's "Critical Care"
(opening Friday) got him thinking, as a family man must, about the
state of world health care. "I had some dealings," Spader
says mysteriously, "in another country that had universal health
care-and it was abysmal. It was archaic. I had a sick child at the
time, and I'm telling you, it was like taking the child to prison."
Not that he thinks things are working perfectly in this country, which
is one reason he found the film-darkly comic look at what ails the
U.S. system-appealing. "We are in a crisis," he believes.
"There are some very hard questions that need to be answered
in terms of the sick going untreated, or becoming destitute because
of the cost of an illness." As a lusty intensive-care doctor
who gets caught up in a family's squabble over pulling Daddy's plug,
Spader comes face-to-face with the realities of modern medicine, menacing
hospital lawyers, and a patient who's only "technically"
alive. The star of "Crash" (David Cronenberg's film about
folks who use car accidents to heighten their sexual ardor), Spader
hopes that this movie, too, will upset its audience: "That's
what films can-and should-do." Not that he wants to sound too
serious. "Critical Care," after all is a comedy (featuring
a hoofed Wally Shawn as the devil's frontman and Albert Brooks as
a grumbly alcoholic doctor.) "I really had a lot of fun on this
film," says Spader, who's fully insured by the Screen Actors
Guild. "Everybody just fractured me."
Falvo "New York Magazine" 11/3/1997 page 100 (Thank