Trauma (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/09/2004

Three out of five stars
Running time: 94 mins

Atmospheric, dark, disorienting thriller with a complex central performance by Colin Firth.

Marc Evans is the British director behind 2002's low budget hit My Little Eye. Trauma is his follow-up feature, another edgy psychological thriller, but this time with a slightly larger budget and a name cast to play with. As such, it's an effectively creepy, atmospheric thriller that benefits greatly from an intriguing performance by Colin Firth.

Firth plays Ben, a man who wakes up from a coma after an accident in which his wife was killed. Confused and disoriented, he only has fragmented memories of the event and he slowly tries to put his life back together with the aid of his best friend (Tommy Flanagan) and Charlotte (Mena Suvari), the Hot Landlady of his brand new flat. In addition, London's media are bsessed with the recent murder of a pop star and in his confusion, Ben starts to wonder if he might be involved. As a result, it isn't long before he's questioning his sanity completely - is his wife really dead? Does Charlotte actually exist? Who's the strange guy in the cellar? And that sort of thing.

The casting works extremely well. Firth's screen persona lends itself well to playing characters who seem emotionally cold and distant and that works particularly well here - even his relationship with his best friend seems strained and awkward. This also ensures that there's always doubt in our minds - maybe he's guilty after all - and keeps us guessing throughout the film. Suvari is also well cast as the neighbour who seems just too good to be true. The cast also includes Kenneth Cranham as the police officer investigating the murder and Brenda Fricker as a psychic who tells Ben that his wife is alive and deepens his confusion.

Evans makes great use of his principal location, Ben's still-under-construction apartment building - it's an eerie, mostly deserted maze of dark corridors and constantly dripping water, complete with sinister security type in the cellar. There are also nice touches such as Ben's enormous ant farm, which obviously allows for lots of creepy close-ups of insects as well as making us see Ben as more and more of a weirdo.

The film isn't exactly flawless - some of the characters and sub-plots are side-lined and go nowhere - and it could use some tightening up, but it does manage to pull off a couple of surprising twists. It isn't in the same league as Memento (despite desperately trying to be) but it's an enjoyable 'Amnesia Movie' in its own right.

In short, Trauma is a worthy follow-up to My Little Eye that's worth seeing for its interesting central performance by Colin Firth.

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Content updated: 19/10/2017 06:32

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