Rated R 2005

Adapted by Patrick Marber (Closer) and Chrysanthy Balis from the novel by Patrick McGrath, this is soft-core, soft-focus, and plain ol' soft, its glimpses of skin obscured by the smooth silken lingerie of Natasha Richardson's Stella and the tattered prison work clothes of Marton Csokas' Edgar, whose musty affair goes awry to no one's surprise. This is a highbrow erotica-cum-psychological thriller without any kick at all, a snapshot of obsession that's less about the risks one takes for true love than it is about the dumb chances one takes when stifled and bored and game for any sort of excitement at all. (It's ironic, of course, that there's none to be found here.) The best you can say of Asylum, directed by Young Adam's David Mackenzie, is that it plays like a topless Twilight Zone -- or it would have, had it ended long before it peters out in predictably irksome fashion.



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