Movieline's Hollywood Life - 07/01/2005
"[Mackenzie] is a skillful chronicler of mad love, and he gives this film a taut, pulsing energy."
Sight and Sound - 09/01/2005
"Mackenzie and his screenwriter, Patrick Marber, have captured the essence of McGrath's novel and skillfully rethought it in cinematic terms."
Uncut - 10/01/2005
"The cast is excellent, as are some of the set-pieces, especially an eerie dream-like drowning sequence."
Set in late-1950s England, David Mackenzie's ASYLUM is a Gothic romance filled with erotic obsession, deception, and murder. Natasha Richardson gives a bravura performance as Stella Raphael, an unhappy woman who is forced to move with her son, Charlie (Gus Lewis), to rural Yorkshire when her husband, Max (Hugh Bonneville), earns a post as deputy superintendent of a psychiatric institution for the criminally insane. Among the patients there is Edgar Stark (Marton Csokas), a brooding sculptor who has been imprisoned for the brutal murder of his wife. When Stark gets a job working in the Raphaels' garden and conservatory, the attraction grows between Stella and him as Stark's doctor, Peter Cleave (Ian McKellen), Max's rival, watches closely, harboring his own ulterior motives. When Edgar escapes, Stella must decide whether to remain in her sedate life in Yorkshire or go after the dangerous man she has fallen in love with. Based on Patrick McGrath's 1997 novel, ASYLUM examines the fine line between marriage and passion, between the confined and the confused, as art and beauty combine with deceit and betrayal to tell a powerful story that features excellent performances by Richardson, McKellen, and Csokas, as well as fine support from Joss Ackland and Judy Parfitt. Maria Aitken, who just happens to be the wife of author McGrath, plays Claudia Greene.
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