Thursday, January 7, 2016

Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

Number Rolled: 79
Movie Name/Year: Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
Tagline: No one is what they seem.
Genre: Thriller
Length: 112 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Production Companies: Icon Productions, Sobini Films
Producer: Mark Amin, Rene Besson, Christa Campbell, Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Mark Gill, Lati Grobman, Dave Higgins, Avi Lerner, Cami Winikoff
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Joe Gangemi, Edgar Allan Poe
Actors: Kate Beckinsale, Jim Sturgess, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine, Jason Flemyng, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Sinead Cusack, Edmund Kingsley

Blurb from Netflix: In 1899, a young doctor arrives at an asylum for an apprenticeship and becomes suspicious of his mentor’s methods while falling for a female patient.

Selina’s Point of View:
Right now I’m sick with some kind of flu-cold hybrid. That means it’s not only difficult to impress me, it’s damn near impossible. I’m grouchy, stuffed up, coughing and battling a headache that is making my eyes cross. Still, Stonehearst Aslyum managed to drag me away from the tissues to a point of actually focusing.

As I mentioned I’m very sick, so I’m going to keep this short.

The amount I disliked the last movie we reviewed is as much as I loved this one. Of course, it’s Edgar Allan Poe (Contos do Edgar, Lenore, The Raven).

I expected the story to be good.

What you can never expect is what a screenwriter and director are going to do with the story they get. In this case neither Brad Anderson (Vanishing on 7th Street, Transsiberian, The Call) nor Joe Gangemi (Red Oaks, Wind Chill, Go With Me) disappointed. They honored Poe with dark humor and great casting.

I wasn’t looking forward to watching a movie with how I feel, but I’m more than glad I did.

Cat’s Point of View:
It does not surprise me at all that this film was based on an 1844 short story by Edgar Allen Poe - "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.” The OG Master of Macabre is one of my favorites.

I’d have to say that the writers and director did a smash-up job of taking that proverbial ball and running with it.

It’s probably evident, by now, that I loved this movie. Loved it.

I’m also very glad that the treatment of mental conditions has come quite a long way since the era this film depicts.

There are so many nuances of the plot that I enjoyed; yet I dare not share them to avoid spoilers.

Kate Beckinsale (Click, Whiteout, Total Recall) was phenomenal as Eliza Graves. This role was physically demanding in a way that we’re not accustomed to seeing in her films. The brilliance wasn’t just in the depiction of her character’s condition; but was also in the shades of emotion she evoked.

Jim Sturgess (Crossing Over, One Day, Ashes) is also impossible to dismiss with his performance. His character was a fox among wolves. I haven’t seen much of his work; and this film has me wanting to go back and check a few more movies out.

There was a bit of Six Degrees of the Potterverse going on with this film, with both David Thewlis (Mr. Nice, War Horse, Macbeth) and Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, The Guard, The Raven) amongst the cast. I get a giggle every time I can connect those dots.

Sir Ben Kingsley (Shutter Island, Hugo, Ender's Game) is also no stranger to portraying an asylum doctor. Seeing him amongst a cast generally begins a guessing game for me – is this role one where you can trust that likeable smile, or is it hiding something insidious? In the case of this movie, I’m not telling.

For my usual bit of trivia, it is interesting to note that the husband of Lady Eliza Graves is played by none other than Sir Ben Kingsley’s son, Edmund Kingsley (Hugo, Allies, The Carrier).

I’d gladly watch this movie again and would recommend it in a heartbeat.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 51%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 48%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score4.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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