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Asylum [DVD] [2005]

Natasha Richardson , Sean Harris , David Mackenzie    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Natasha Richardson, Sean Harris, Marton Csokas, Ian McKellen, Hugh Bonneville
  • Directors: David Mackenzie
  • Writers: Chrysanthy Balis, Patrick Marber, Patrick McGrath
  • Producers: Baron Davis, Bruce McNall, Chris Curling, David Collins
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JND8

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Give them up or don't come back" 20 Jan 2006
By A Customer
Stella Raphael (Natasha Richardson) is a troubled woman. Repressed and bored, she's the long-suffering wife of a mental hospital's deputy director, Max Raphael (Hugh Bonneville). It's the late 1950s, and Stella's marriage to Max is a case study in dreariness and boredom. A puritanical psychiatrist, Max treats Stella like she's an undeserving servant, an excess piece of baggage there to fulfill Max's own whims.
Max has just landed an apparently cushy job at a British asylum outside London, and he expects Stella to not only fit in with all the other psychiatrist wives, but also do her best to make sure that his tenure at the hospital is made permanent. Their young son Charlie (Gus Lewis) gives Stella much pleasure, but there's still something missing in her life; it's just not enough to spend her days planning parties for the inmates and gossiping with her colleagues.
Her redeemer comes in the form of the enigmatic loony hunk Edgar (Marton Csokas), a sexy, handsome, brooding brute of a sculptor who once decapitated his wife for seeing other men. At first, Edgar helps Stella in her household chores, and becomes a playmate to young Charlie, but before long Stella is putting fresh lipstick on, swigging back the scotch for courage, and searching Edgar out for afternoon trysts in the rundown green house with hospital guards or family only scant hidden yards away.
The physical encounters are raw and sexual, with both of them unleashing all their bottled up frustrations and desires. Soon they are falling in love, both perhaps unaware that the affair can lead nowhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very unsettling viewing 24 May 2013
This is a deeply unsettling film.

It kinda reminded me of Dangerous Liasions... albeit set in a 1950's Asylum.

Despite the nod towards H.P. Lovecraft stlye madness, I think it it supposed to be a story of love, lust, repression... and of course manipulation. I thought that Hugh Bonneville was fantastic, and Ian McKellen was great in a very creepy sort of way.

If I'm honest, there was a bit too much sunshine for me - alot of the scenes could have been filmed either during twilight or at night, and it would have give the film a much more creepy edge.

Definitely recommended, but probably for the older audience. 4/5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Film! 24 Mar 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I caught this film on TV and as I'd missed the first half, had to purchase the DVD. It's a fantastic film, very dark, and very well acted by all in it. I was inspired to read the book, which is even better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The deeper layers... 20 Dec 2012
What most people seem to have missed about this film is the hint that Stella herself has a dark past and that the marriage has already suffered some sort of previous crisis. At one point Max's mother asks whether she is "behaving herself and Max's remark about her being his "pet patient" is, I feel, a loaded one. Also, when Peter discovers Stella knows where Edgar is and has been seeing him, he threatens to have her committed. Even as the "Deus ex Machina" of the piece and puppet master of the affair, I'm pretty sure even he wouldn't do this to an someone with a previously unblemished reputation. It's as if everyone around Stella spends the film waiting for her to fall from a very unsteady perch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class 20 Aug 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I really liked this film, good story line, excellent acting and a clear question, was this love, lust or compulsion. Only the viewer can decide this for themselves, but to me the film was faultless and the question very necessary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars desperate love 30 Oct 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Set in an old Victorian asylum,bored and ignored by her patronising husband ,Stella played excellently by Natasha Richardson embarks on a passionate, erotic affair with Edgar,one of the patients.The acting by all is first class.The story is about desperate love,edgar escapes and flees to london and stella leaves her children to be with him.However Edgar is mentally ill and has a dark past.Ian Mckellan one of the doctors at the asylum,seems obsessed with stella himself,and when Edgar is caught takes control of both their lives.A tragic tale,beautifully portrayed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goes on giving 2 Feb 2010
Not many films hold my attention these days: there are a lot out there and one becomes ever more selective.

The plot here is about averagely full of holes. For example, do Jaguar cars really have interior handles in the boots?

Be that as it may, what really saved this film for me was the acting. Natasha Richardson is terrific but Ian McKellen acts the socks off the lot of them. His performance is just as good as you can imagine and then more -- just so finely judged (and I'm straight, by the way).

The reason for my title is that when you think you've got this film sussed, there's more.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DVD 10 Aug 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I became particularly interested in Natasha Richardson's work following her sad untimely death. The story of 'Asylum' is sad and extremely scarey, depicting the powerlessness of a woman, who is vulnerable and makes unwise decisions. Not a film for the faint hearted, but it is educational.
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