Asylum

Asylum

Director: David Mackenzie

Cast: David Mackenzie, Ian McKellen, Natasha Richardson, Marton Csokas

     
 

Directed by David Mackenzie, Asylum follows a 1950s family living in a home on the grounds of an asylum after Max (Hugh Bonneville), the patriarch, is assigned to serve as deputy director of a remote psychiatric hospital. Neither his wife, Stella (Natasha Richardson), nor his young son, Charlie (Augustus Jeremiah Lewis), are particularly happy about theSee more details below

Overview

Directed by David Mackenzie, Asylum follows a 1950s family living in a home on the grounds of an asylum after Max (Hugh Bonneville), the patriarch, is assigned to serve as deputy director of a remote psychiatric hospital. Neither his wife, Stella (Natasha Richardson), nor his young son, Charlie (Augustus Jeremiah Lewis), are particularly happy about the arrangements, though Stella finds herself slowly becoming attracted to Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas), a charismatic inmate. Despite the obvious repercussions of an extramarital affair and the sage advice of Dr. Cleave (Ian McKellen), a colleague of her husband, Stella's slow-burning attraction becomes an all out obsession; before long, Stella is barely aware that she is risking her family, her sanity, and even her very life for Edgar. Asylum is based on a novel by Patrick McGrath. ~ Tracie Cooper

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Directed by David Mackenzie from Patrick Marber’s excellent adaptation of a grimly compelling novel by Patrick McGrath, Asylum is one of the year’s most blood-curdling thrillers. Neglected wife Stella Raphael (Natasha Richardson) -- whose uptight husband, Max (Hugh Bonneville), is deputy superintendent at a mental institution outside London -- drinks too much and develops an unhealthy fascination with one of the asylum’s patients, a sculptor named Edgar (Marton Csokas). Despite the fact that he bludgeoned his wife to death and mutilated her corpse, Stella becomes sexually involved with Edgar and helps him escape. And that’s just the beginning of her troubles. What makes Asylum even more horrific than similar thrillers is its clinical detachment, which promotes an emotionally muted, impersonal feeling when frightening things begin happening. It’s a pretty nasty piece of work, all told, sporting enough erotic obsession, psychosis, and grisly shocks to fill three movies. Low-key in execution but unremittingly macabre in aspect, Asylum is guaranteed to get under your skin.
All Movie Guide
David Mackenzie's Asylum is a miserable little movie that sputters along in fits and wrong-headed starts before eventually expiring. To say it casts a suspicious eye on psychiatry and its practitioners would be underselling the extent of its pessimism. Asylum basically thinks human beings in general are complete and utter crap. For starters, it's extremely difficult to feel any sympathy for the protagonist, Stella Raphael (Natasha Richardson). Sure, her psychiatrist husband (Hugh Bonneville) is a controlling jerk, but the movie doesn't allow us to get swept away by the potential romantic sanctuary she finds in the arms of another man (Martin Csokas). See, this man is in the insane asylum for having killed and beheaded his wife -- a fact she knows going in -- and true enough, he becomes angry and unstable in no time. At which point she proceeds to throw her life away, most unconscionably with respect to her innocent son. To give some indication of the clumsiness of Chrys Balis' script, a trigger is needed to showcase the jealousy that caused Edgar Stark to murder his wife, so Stark's assistant abruptly professes his love for Stella in Stark's presence -- only so that Stark can whale on him as retribution. This clunky scene has no logical precursor in the story. Despite Stella's numerous character flaws, no man can resist her -- her cuckolded husband actually seems to want her back, and even a fellow psychiatrist played by the great Ian McKellen ends up having designs on her. This despite the fact that Stark asks him what she'd want to do with "an old queen like you." McKellen must really shake his head over his involvement with this one. Not only is Asylum beneath his considerable talents, it also makes reference to his real sexual orientation for no demonstrable narrative reason.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A film that takes you by surprise, refusing to relinquish its grim, fascinating hold. Better yet, it has crept up on us without much advance promotional fanfare. The less known about its twists, the better. -- Paula Nechak

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/24/2013
UPC:
0883929311804
Original Release:
2005
Rating:
R
Source:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:39:00
Sales rank:
39,540

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ian McKellen Dr. Peter Cleave
Natasha Richardson Stella Raphael
Marton Csokas Edgar Stark
Hugh Bonneville Dr. Max Raphael
Judy Parfitt Brenda Raphael
Sean Harris Nick
Gus Lewis Charlie
Wanda Ventham Mrs. Straffen
Joss Ackland Dr. Jack Straffen

Technical Credits
David Mackenzie Director
Peter Agnew Asst. Director
David E. Allen Producer
Chrys Balis Screenwriter
Michael Barlow Executive Producer
Laurie Borg Producer
Consolata Boyle Costumes/Costume Designer
John Buchanan Executive Producer
David Collins Co-producer
Chris Curling Executive Producer
Baron Davis Executive Producer
Baron Davis Executive Producer
Brendan Deasy Sound/Sound Designer
Laurence Dorman Production Designer
Harmon M. Kaslow Executive Producer
Mark Mancina Score Composer
Patrick Marber Screenwriter
Steven Markoff Executive Producer
Bruce McNall Executive Producer
Colin Monie Editor
Mace Neufeld Producer
Giles Nuttgens Cinematographer
Robert G. Rehme Executive Producer
Natasha Richardson Executive Producer
Steve Weisberg Editor

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Asylum
1. Mrs. Raphael
2. The Wives
3. Falling
4. Dancing
5. Can You Keep a Secret?
6. The Greenhouse
7. What Do You Think of Mrs. Raphael?
8. Interrupted
9. Have You Seen a Ghost?
10. How Long?
11. Shopping
12. How's Edgar?
13. New Life
14. Seen It Before
15. Caught
16. Home Again
17. Calling
18. Committed
19. Making Progress
20. Dr. Cleave
21. Waiting at the Dance
22. Goodbye

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