TRAUMA. 2004

Director: Marc Evans

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Trauma opens with an accident victim (Colin Firth) coming through nightmares on his way out of a coma. Do to his physical trauma & it would seem additional trauma to the brain (unless he's just regular insane), he's got memory lapses or some pretty serious self-denials, & he's none too sure what's real & not real.

The film has him sometimes delusional, sometimes dreaming, sometimes in the "real" part of the film's pretend world, though possibly the "real' world is his actual delusion. Blurring the distinction of unreality & reality comes off as a bad joke though the script was written in eanest.

It's all just about as boring as a film can be. A good movie convinces you the characters are real & makes you care about those characters, & forget if only for the duration that it's only a moive. But this movie wants the viewer to be uncertain who is real & who isn't, who's dead & who's alive, & never permits any part of the film to be "real," an affectation that merely reminds the viewer that nothing about movie-fiction is real. In asking us not to believe anything we see in the film, we basically just don't believe in the film.

We know our hero is nuts, but how nuts? Is someone twinking with him by wrecking stuff in his apartment, since even paranoids have enemies? Or is he twinking with himself? Are some, all, or none of the people he encounters real? The answer to these conundrums becomes, at almost every turn, "Who the hell cares."

The character Firth plays is an unappealing working class asshole who we slowly discover is even less appealing than is immediately visible, that he's a lifelong loser without friends, with stalker tendencies, with no job, no prospects. Yet the whole plot hinges on his having supposedly been married to a modelishly beautiful very young black woman (Naomie Harris) who is a back-up dancer for a famous singer. No way she'd marry a buggar like that.

Even now, with mental illness added to his character traits, he's being pursued aggressively by a beautiful blonde bombshell (Mena Suvari) whose fetish for a demented whiner is never made explicable.

It's interesting that someone as as handsome & appealing as Colin Firth is capable of playing a character with no charisma or appeal of any kind. But in so fully becoming a profound loser void of charisma or likeability, his relationships with top-grade babes are never for a split-second believable, & lacking that believability nothing that flows out of it story-wise makes any sense at all.

In the end the non-suprise is that he's just nuts. There is no twist or suprise about it, no nuance or unfairness for him, he's merely psycho. But his worst crime is not so much being psycho as being so very, very dull.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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