Shortly after waking up from a coma and discovering that his wife has been killed in a car accident, Ben befriends his beautiful young neighbor. But just as Ben begins to turn his life around, he is haunted by visions of his dead wife.
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Awaking from a coma to discover his wife has been killed in a car accident, Ben's world may as well have come to an end. A few weeks later, Ben's out of hospital and, attempting to start a new life, he moves home and is befriended by a beautiful young neighbor Charlotte. His life may be turning around but all is not what it seems and, haunted by visions of his dead wife, Ben starts to lose his grip on reality...Written by
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TRAUMA is one of those films that invokes mixed responses from audiences depending on their expectations: it seems to polarize people into love/hate categories. While not a great movie, TRAUMA has the courage to pose a storyline that is more involved with the interior aspects of a mind altered by physical events. We are asked to observe the world through the eyes of a battered brain which happens to belong to a man with a tattered past. If linear stories are preferred then this is not a film to recommend. For those viewers willing to crawl inside the malfunctioning mind, this film is mesmerizing and full of rewarding moments.
Ben (Colin Firth) is seen in the opening flashbacks driving a car at night with his wife Elisa (Naomie Harris). There is a car crash and Ben awakens from a coma in a hospital, convinced that Elisa is dead. He wanders the hospital, drawn to the morgue where the caretaker (Cornelius Booth) enhances the mystery of the place. Ben learns from the TV room that a famous singer Lauren Parris (Alison David), for whom Elisa has been a dancer, has been murdered. His mind disintegrates and everything that follows is a mélange of delusion mixed with bits of reality that exquisitely define how the post traumatic stress syndrome can be driven to psychosis if not recognized and treated.
Ben leaves the hospital (or does he?) and continues his art career in a vast building undergoing reconstruction (a building that has been a hospital....), befriended by his mate Roland (Sean Harris) and by his landlady 'Charlotte' (Mena Suvari). More flashbacks (mostly childhood memories) occur as Ben talks things out with a 'psychiatrist' (whose face we never see...) and during episodes with channeler Petra (Brenda Fricker) he is informed that Elisa is not dead. Ben becomes a suspect in the murder of Lauren Parris and his chasing after evidence ultimately leads to a series of disasters, a series of metaphors and delusions, all of which find Ben sitting back in the hospital where he started.
Did any of this story really happen, or was it the fabrication of a mind traumatized to the brink of breaking? That is left for the viewer to decide. Though plagued with some static moments and a lot of conversation buried in background music and sounds, Director Marc Evans with writer Richard Smith take us on a suspenseful journey, made all the more bizarre by some extraordinary camera work and tremendously inventive settings. Not a movie for everyone, but for those willing to enter the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome mind, this case study is rewarding. Grady Harp
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