Natasha Richardson (THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS) is Stella, the beautiful, neglected wife of Max Raphael (Hugh Bonneville), the newly appointed Deputy Superintendent of a maximum-security psychiatric hospital outside of London. Soon after her arrival, Stella develops a curious attraction to Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas), an artist confined for the gruesome murder of his wife in a jealous rage. Secretly observed by the cunning Dr. Peter Cleave (Golden Globe winner Ian McKellen), Stella and Edgar begin a torrid affair. But as passions are ignited, so are suspicions, rage and jealousies, plunging the characters into a thrilling game of cat and mouse that builds to a shocking, fever-pitched conclusion. Brilliantly acted and fraught with sexual tension, ASYLUM is a "powerful, haunting and beautifully crafted"* story of passion, manipulation and erotic obsession.
-Rex Reed, THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
Asylum stars Natasha Richardson in an unsettling psychological thriller about the repressed, 1950s wife of a psychiatrist (Hugh Bonneville) and her affair with a convicted killer (Marton Csokas). Stella (Richardson), Max (Bonneville), and their son Charlie (Gus Lewis, who played the young Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond) move to a high-security psychiatric hospital, where the priggish Max joins the staff and hopes to ascend, in time, to the top spot, replacing the soon-to-retire hospital director (Joss Ackland). Standing in Max's way is another doctor, Cleave (Ian McKellen), who takes a quiet yet somehow sinister interest in unhappy Stella's apparent attraction to Edgar (Csokas), a connection that will lead to more than one sorrowful end. Based on a novel by Patrick McGrath (who adapted his own Spider into the screenplay for David Cronenberg's 2002 film), Asylum is directed by David Mackenzie (Young Adam) with a subtle but growing apprehension of manipulated destiny in Cleave's hands. (It's hard not to think of Cleave as a villainous puppetmaster in Fritz Lang's Dr. Mabuse universe.) There are times when one might be tempted to dismiss Asylum as too opaque in its explanation for why Stella does the often wretched things she does. But patience is well rewarded: It takes full running time of the movie for the story's complete design to become clear. --Tom Keogh
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2 Poster Pictures of Asylum (2005)
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