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Work, family, relationships, deadlines, terrorism, information overload... When modern life is getting crazier and crazier, day by day, who wouldn't think about getting out? Leaving it all behind? Wouldn't that be the only sane response to this mad world? "Asylum Seekers" is about escapism, about feeling the pressure and deciding on a radical solution. Our six characters can't take their various stresses any more and are heading for the door marked EXIT. It leads to a deluxe, exclusive, luxuriously-appointed mental asylum, an adult funfair where they can let it all go and be waited on hand and foot for the rest of their carefree lives. Or so it seems... The first twist is that there are limited places. Only one free bed remains. The competition is on. And there are many other surprises lying in wait for the unwary, would-be-insane patient... The ride out of the world they know has only just begun! Written by
In reference to some of the previous reviews, yes "Asylum Seekers" dares to be surreal. Whether this is a compliment or an epithet is entirely according to individual taste, I suppose. I think that the film is quite smart and very humorous, although at times the joke takes a while to sink in. This, to my mind, is a good thing. Themes of acting, self-presentation, fragmentation, and "mental health" in modern life are presented quite well in this film. True, quite often "Asylum Seekers" dispenses with easy plot devices, but this seems to be rooted in an expectation that the audience will actually engage a bit with the underlying themes rather than passively wait to be jolted into cheap laughter or "understanding".
Interestingly, the film reminds me a lot of Raymond Roussel's novels; Roussel was funny too, but only if you were open to his strange sense of the world.
For those interested in the formal qualities of a film, I can say that "Asylum Seekers" looks great. True, it is not "realistic", but it is clear that the director and crew got the most out of what was probably a fairly low budget.
So, for lazy viewers, this is not a good film at all. If you actually take X-Factor or "the media" (any media...Fox, MSNBC, BBC...does not matter, really) or your therapist seriously, by all means stay away! If this is the level of your engagement, this film is not only not for you...you are actually the film's target. For those who can appreciate a more complex world than this, however, I can highly recommend "Asylum Seekers".
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