Bedlam full movie review - In Many Ways A Disgraceful Film
This Australian film wastes no time in showing us what it's trying to achieve . A man is being held down and unseen people are trying to pull his teeth out with pliers and the opening title hasn't even been shown yet !
If this shocks you then turn off because the fun and games haven't even started yet and one wonders if Chew Barker has had a competition with someone to see if you can make the most disturbing and depressing film in the history of cinema ? If so he's definitely in contention for the top prize
!!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!!
A young man called George suffering from schizophrenia is committed to a mental asylum and what happens is supposedly based on true events according to an opening capitation but I was having a problem believing just how true this might be along with Barker being on the side of the mentally ill . It must be an absolute living hell suffering from psychosis and Barker does use expressionistic and deeply disturbing imagery early in the film to show George's illness . However more often than not Barker paints mentally ill characters with broad strokes that play up to every single hysterical stereotype of "psychos" . That said the lunatics in the asylum are great company compared to the ones running it . The male nurses are sadistic brutes and wear a crypto-fascist type of uniform more fitting to neo-Nazi street fighters who when they're not physically abusing the male patients are raping the female ones and if this mental asylum resembles Auschwitz that's probably because the psychiatrist running the place is indeed a former Nazi death camp commander
It's at this point you feel something might be overstated if this is based upon true events . I remember seeing a documentary in the late 1970s about the British psychiatric at Rampton where the staff constantly over stepped the mark but nothing like what we get with BEDLAM . If Barker is trying to bring institutional abuse in Australian psychiatric hospitals he's gone the wrong way about it . As someone tells George " It's going to be a tough sell to find anyone to believe you" and never was a truer word spoken . BEDLAM has very little truth in how it's presented . It also contains spoof adverts for psychoactive drugs such as "Brotak" , "Moxiton" and "Thorameal" but I took the time to google these so called medications while watching the film and found that they didn't exist and the film ends on a very weak meta-fictional twist that " It's just a film darling" which you could probably see coming and renders BEDLAM as pointless exploitation