MOVIE REVIEW: “Stonehearst Asylum” stars Jim Sturgess (Feed the Beast [TV series], 21), Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall , Underworld), Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3, The Walk), David Thewlis (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Regression), Michael Caine (The Dark Knight, Now You See Me), Brendan Gleeson (Edge of Tomorrow, Troy), and Sophie Kennedy Clark (Philomena, Dark Shadows ). It is directed by Brad Anderson (The Call, The Machinist) and is written by Joe Gangemi (Wind Chill, Blackway). Based on an Edgar Allen Poe short story, this film follows a doctor named Edward Newgate (Sturgess), who arrives to Stonehearst Asylum looking to further his experience in asylum medicine. The longer he stays at the looney bin, however, the more dark secrets he discovers, one of which that endangers his life.
I failed to watch a movie Friday night due to a costume party, but thankfully I was able to see one Saturday night just so I could have a review to turn before October concluded (it has, but it’ll still be included in that month’s movie rankings). “Stonehearst Asylum” was recommended to me a few months ago, and with a stellar group of actors and a story quite peculiar, it was hard to pass up. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film that would surprise me on many occasions throughout its runtime, and “Stonehearst” is one of these instances. It’s not that I was shocked almost every five minutes, but there were enough twists and turns to leave the viewer shrouded in curiosity. The story itself is rather mysterious. A lot of sub-plots are contained in this one arc, especially when it comes to characters. The tone is dark and eerie, twisted in a sense of insanity. This isn’t a Tim Burton feature, nor does it boast a gothic feel. The style is sleek yet rough around the edges, and the plot really fleshes this out. How this movie was run is simplistic. You have a man wanting to gain experience in asylum medicine, and is then inducted into a looney bin where he discovers that there is more than meets the eye. We all know the set-up of a figure running into things he shouldn’t know or understand, but what makes this tale fresh is its development of characters and hidden meanings behind their actions. I enjoyed watching this film as there was a lot of ground to cover that I couldn’t have imagined. The surprises in this didn’t make me gasp, but there was enough of a punch to soar this story beyond its basic structure. Aside from the plot, the acting was very good with some solid performances from the entire cast. Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine, and Kate Beckinsale all performed as they usually do, but the biggest surprise was Jim Sturgess, who I’ve only seen portray a character in the terrible series “Feed the Beast.” I was shocked to see him doing a good job, and it makes me want to see what more the actor had up his sleeve. The design of this release is truly picturesque. The setting and color tones really come full circle, and bestows a sense of lunacy as I have mentioned before. I also enjoyed the time period of this, being in the late nineteenth century. The dialogue was written with poise and the costuming was nice. All of the pieces set in place were executed well, but I did see some issues with the story. Being as how just about all of them spoil the twists, I’ll be light on the explanation. Of the shockers that come in this film, I will say that realistically they wouldn’t make sense. How things end up the way they are seem hard to believe to happen in real life, mainly because of how the asylum system works (none of the chaos would’ve happened if the doctors did their job; in fact, none of the patients would’ve been able to do what they did). If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I am getting at. Other than this, I don’t have too many complaints to list. This was a very well made movie with an interesting story to pick apart. I recommend anyone to check it out. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: