Sound: C+ Extras: C- Film: C+
Director David Mackenzie’s British drama Asylum
(2005) is a mixed bag of great cast members, locations, sets and acting with
too much of what we have seen before.
For some reason, British feature productions want to go to mental
hospitals and produce films with this title.
Baker’s anthology Horror film Asylum
from 1972 is the best known, though the independent 2000 production we reviewed
elsewhere on this site is went by barely noticed for good reason.
film has Natasha Richardson, Ian McKellen, Joss Ackland and Judy Parfitt are
among the cast as a wife (Richardson) bored with her husband doctor (Hugh
Bonneville) takes over a mental institute.
She falls for one of the patients (Marton Csokas) and the relationship
heats up quickly. Unfortunately, things
just happen flatly throughout without anything new to offer, any ironic
distance or the extra energy to overcome much of the predictable. See this one for the production, locations
and acting, but it is not as great as was hoped for. The ending is almost silly, the more you think about it.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image was shot by
cinematographer Giles Nuttgens and makes the title location out be very lush
and roomy, even sometimes in enclosed spaces that still feel enclosed. Video Black is questionable, but this looks
good otherwise. The Dolby Digital 5.1
and 2.0 mixes have little in the way of surrounds and are surprisingly
weak. The combination is too laid back
for its own good, much like the film itself, though the music score by Mark
Mancina (Speed, Training Day) is noteworthy and even saves the
film at times. The only extra is
previews for other Paramount DVD releases that also have to be bypassed in most
cases before you get to the film.
Mackenzie will next direct a film on the singer Nico, which everyone
will be waiting for.
- Nicholas Sheffo