As with his 2003 debut, Young Adam, David Mackenzie's tale of hothouse passions among the pathologically deranged demonstrates that the director can work magic with actors, notably Richardson as the sexually frustrated wife of an English asylum's new administrator. But what this slack adaptation of Patrick McGrath's novel strives to achieve—metaphor for female imprisonment? torrid romance?—is anyone's guess. Mackenzie's talent is undeniable, but if Asylum is any indication, it might be a while before his ability to craft a narrative catches up with his facility for mildewy atmospherics.
Cast and crew
Patrick Marber, Chrysanthy Balis