IN A NUTSHELL...
The Story: Natasha Richardson stars in this 1959-set drama as bored housewife Stella Raphael, who falls in lust with a patient (Marton Csokas) at the psychiatric hospital where her dreary husband (Hugh Bonneville) works. Sir Ian McKellen plays the psychiatric doctor who takes a particular interest in the dangerous liaison. Long in development, Asylum is based upon the novel by Patrick McGrath and was adapted for the screen by Patrick Marber (Closer). The film is directed by David Mackenzie, who previously helmed the excellent Young Adam.
Useless Fact: Silence Of The Lambs helmer Jonathan Demme was at one point attached to direct the movie.
WATCH: Director David Mackenzie talks about the making of Asylum
WATCH: Star Natasha Richardson on her seven-year battle to bring Asylum to the screen
WATCH: David Mackenzie on shooting Asylum in a mental institution, and his next movie Hallam Foe
WATCH: Natasha Richardson on dealing with Asylum's sex scenes, and whether she'd go through the entire experience ever again
WATCH: Asylum trailer
"The attention to period in this adaptation of Patrick McGrath's 1996 novel - a remote English asylum at the close of the 1950s - is superb" (3/5)
"The film looks beautiful; the broken down gothic walls of the mental hospital are the perfect backdrop to the demise of the rational mind" (5/7)
"Powerful performances and Mackenzie's gritty style are just about enough to offset the melodramatic excesses of the plot" (3/5)
"It's Ian McKellen's pernicious scheming that provides Asylum's real intrigue" (3/5)
"Keeps its characters at arm's length while maintaining an infectious fascination with their often disastrous actions" (3/5)
"David Mackenzie's follow-up to Young Adam is at turns intriguing and ludicrous, finally failing to add up to the sum of its parts" (2/5)
"After the slow burn of Young Adam, Mackenzie actually cranks it down for this almost subliminal rumble about passions and cruelty" (2/5)
"Natasha Richardson gives a fervid, substantial performance that deserves a better movie" (registration required)
"Director David Mackenzie makes a game stab at Patrick McGrath's source novel but never quite brings it off" (2/5)
"Never has a tale of amour fou seemed as dour and depressing as that of Asylum" (2/5)
"Despite a decent script, mostly steady direction and good performances, the film remains an underwhelming experience"
"David Mackenzie's third film is a misjudged melodrama set in the uptight 1950s with LOTS OF SUDDEN SHOUTING" (1/5)
"They think I'm the tortured love chappy"
Patrick Marber interview
"My back was cut to ribbons"
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites
Natasha Richardson interview