Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by Marc Evans and Colin
Firth. Making of. Trailer.
COLIN Firth takes a refreshing break away from his romantic leading
man persona to play an edgy and delusional car crash victim, who
may or may not be a murderer, in Trauma, a new psychological chiller
from My Little Eye director,
Yet, while the performance is note-worthy, the film falls some
way short of that status largely because its twists feel too sign-posted
and the conclusion lacks the shock value viewers may have been
It’s a shame, for Trauma certainly starts strongly. Awaking
from a coma, a man called Ben (Firth) discovers that his beloved
wife (Naomie Harris) has been killed in a car accident, in which
he was driving.
Haunted by memories and guilt, he attempts to get his life back
in order, and even strikes up a friendship with the mysterious
girl next door (Mena Suvari’s Charlotte), only to become
increasingly paranoid by what he believes to be visions of his
His deteriorating mental condition is not helped by the police
investigation into the brutal murder of pop star, Lauren Parris,
with whom Ben may be linked.
But As he attempts to make sense of his fragmented past, using
the help of an unseen psychiatrist, it quickly becomes apparent
that his problems may have stemmed from before the crash, and
that he is not as innocent as he believes.
The truth, however, turns out to
have shocking consequences - only not as shocking as Evans may
For all of its camera trickery - involving rapid editing and
jerky camera-work, designed with a view to offering a glimpse
into Ben’s mental state - the film fails to escape the grim
inevitability that hangs over it, so much so that it feels like
a triumph of style over substance.
Evans seems so obsessed with the tricks of his trade, that he
forgets to invest proceedings with any real emotion, making the
picture that results a particularly cold affair in spite of some
clever visual touches.
By the time it reaches its conclusion, therefore, viewers may
well have tired of the journey and leave the cinema pondering,
And while Firth may be extremely watchable in the lead performance
(ably demonstrating a darker, edgier side to his affable persona),
he is often let down by those around him, with Suvari particularly
unconvincing as his new love interest (who may or may not be a
figment of Ben’s imagination), and the likes of Harris and
Ken Cranham, as a police inspector, not being given enough to
Those with a phobia of spiders, or insects in general, are probably
advised to stay away, too, given Evans’ use of creepy-crawlies
late on, while some of the imagery feels lifted straight out of
better psychological movies, such as Jacob’s Ladder.
Trauma isn’t without its plus points - it certainly hints
at greater things to come for its director, while also providing
an interesting alternative for Firth’s legion of fans -
but it ultimately fails to rise above the average, despite the
curiosity value that comes attached.