Asylum

When her priggish forensic-psychiatrist husband (Hugh Bonneville) takes work at a high-security hospital for the criminally insane, a repressed woman (Natasha Richardson) gets involved with one of the patients (Marton Csokas). Surely taking a lover with a history of psychopathic jealousy is one remedy for feeling neglected, right? Asylum lacks the life of those Harold Pinter-Joseph Losey collaborations to which all subsequent British films about obsession and repression are reluctant heirs. Its only real surprise is how emphatically unsurprising it is. As you think, “Ah, let me guess what’s coming,” the movie cuts straightaway to exactly the thing you guessed. It’s very obliging that way, to the point of rudeness. Characters are similarly abbreviated; all you know of them is what the plot demands. There is at least some tragic irony, in that a movie with Ian McKellen (as the asylum’s lurking senior physician) could be so afraid of its own melodrama. McKellen supplies the only humor, but apparently it’s against the film’s will.

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s