September 9th, 2005


more trailers Asylum

Marton Csokas at event of AsylumDavid Frost at event of AsylumMarton Csokas at event of AsylumDavid Mackenzie at event of AsylumAsylumNatasha Richardson at event of Asylum

A woman becomes very curious about one of her psychiatrist husband's inmates, a man who was found guilty in the murder and disfigurement of his former wife.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 6.0/10 (2,748 voted)

Critic's Score: 51/100

Director: David Mackenzie

Stars: Natasha Richardson, Sean Harris, Marton Csokas

In the 50's, the psychiatrist Max Raphael is hired to work as superintendent of an asylum in the outskirts of London, and he moves with his wife Stella Raphael and their son Charlie. Stella has a passionless marriage and is ignored by Max; her boredom changes when her son befriends the handsome inmate Edgar Stark, an sculptor that in a crisis of jealousy had killed and disfigured his wife, and that is treated by Dr. Peter Cleave, an ambitious psychiatrist that aspired Max's position. During the afternoons, Stella has a hot adulterous affair with Edgar until the day he escapes and their affair is discovered. Stella has to take a decision between her family and her wild passion for Edgar.

Writers: Patrick McGrath, Patrick Marber

Natasha Richardson - Stella Raphael
Hugh Bonneville - Max Raphael
Gus Lewis - Charlie Raphael
Ian McKellen - Dr. Peter Cleave
Joss Ackland - Jack Straffen
Wanda Ventham - Bridie Straffen
Sarah Thurstan - Mrs. Rose
Alwyne Taylor - Monica
Maria Aitken - Claudia Greene
Hazel Douglas - Lilly
Anna Keaveney - Mrs. Bain
Marton Csokas - Edgar Stark
Robert Willox - John Archer
Judy Parfitt - Brenda Raphael
Sean Harris - Nick

Taglines: Passion knows no boundaries.


Official Website: Paramount Classics |

Release Date: 9 September 2005

Filming Locations: Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Opening Weekend: $36,272 (USA) (14 August 2005) (5 Screens)

Gross: $374,903 (USA) (13 November 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Paramount Pictures secured film rights to the book in 1997, the original plan was to bring Stephen King and Jonathan Demme on board as, respectively, screenwriter and director

Max Raphael: I want you to understand what's going to happen next. The shock will wear off, and it will be replaced by a devastating grief. In time, you will come to terms with what you have done and you'll just be very, very sad. And that sadness will stay with you for the rest of your life.

User Review

Like an insidious sense of darkness creeping up from the unconscious

Rating: 7/10

One of the factors that can add to the excitement and tension of the adulterous affair is the danger of being caught. Add to that, the fierce and idiosyncratic passion often attributed to artists. Then make the artist a raving psychopath and you have a pretty heady mix.

So finds the story of Asylum, Director David Mackenzie's further foray into shadowy worlds of sexual obsession, violence and madness. Stella (Natasha Richardson) is wearily married to Max (Hugh Bonneville), a psychiatrist working in a 1950s hospital for the criminally insane. He is overbearing to the point of being monstrous (by modern standards), joking to her about her being his 'pet patient' whilst expecting her to be a no-brainer wife who says the right things when introduced socially. In the initial build up, Mackenzie let's us see the smouldering lust in the face of inmate Edgar, who's incarcerated for murdering and decapitating his wife in a jealous rage. Just as he did with his previous movie, Young Adam, Mackenzie excels at portraying barely sublimated animal sensuality, which soon bursts across the screen in a way that is at once base and beautiful. Helen knows how insane Edgar is, and her feelings for him, but she is gradually drawn into his web of madness, together with her son.

Visually splendid in dank, grey tones, Asylum is an explosion of repressed sexuality that is frightening in its force and surprising in its ending. Natasha Richardson is fantastic as an ignored woman with a desire to be desired that wreaks destruction. Morbid, unsettling, erotic and deeply disturbing.