Movie Review by Jonathan Harvey
Starring: Colin Firth, Mena Suvari, Naomie Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Sean Harris, Garry Tubbs
Director: Marc Evans
‘A psychological chiller’ and ‘starring Colin Firth’ aren’t two phrases you’d normally expect to hear together. But that’s exactly what is served up in TRAUMA, the new British production from director Marc Evans.
The story has Firth’s character, Ben, waking from a coma sustained after a car crash to find that while he survived, his wife has died. As he deals with the tragedy he struggles to piece together his own life and develops an increasing sense of paranoia, made more difficult as he has to endure a flood of media attention over the recent murder of a famous young pop star. Swamped by his problems, Ben looks to his psychiatrist and to a new friendly neighbour, Charlotte (Mena Suvari), for comfort.
The scene is set, then, for a dark thriller exploring both Ben’s inner fears and the media’s obsession with celebrity, but despite the potential the producers must have felt the film had, it ends up tangled in its own plot strands and fails to deliver. Neither theme of paranoia nor celebrity is followed through fully, and as a result the story ends up feeling more confused than Ben is supposed to be. By the end, various seeds have been planted: was it actually Ben who killed the pop star? Is his wife really dead? Is Charlotte just a figment of his imagination? But while all these questions float around unanswered, Ben is never an interesting enough character for us to truly care.
The director Evans, who previously helmed the minor hit horror MY LITTLE EYE, does his best to add some flair to the mix and manages to build up a claustrophobic feel that meshes well with the understated performance of Colin Firth, who is perhaps miscast but does his best to inject some emotion into the story. The visual flashes and Firth’s acting aren’t enough, though, to paper over the cracks of a muddled script, which lacks interesting supporting characters and ultimately spirals into an anticlimax.