David Tennant pulls every string with this charismatic portrayal of radical visionary R.D. Laing.
Laing has always been a divisive figure. Heralded by many as champion of the vulnerable during the unsympathetic Harold Wilson years, yet derided as an opportunistic narcissist whose research merely acted as a shroud for self-help.
Written and directed with an intimate understanding of the man by Robert Mullan, who interviewed the psychiatrist for his 1995 biography, Mad to be Normal addresses the fundamental truths of Laing’s revolutionary practice.
Transforming his home at Kingsley Hall and starting a psychiatric community project, he invited people suffering with schizophrenia to come and live with him. Firmly against the use of any form of medication or electric shock treatment, common practices of the time, Laing instead believed that talking with his patients and the administering of LSD were the keys to progress. “Insanity: a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” (RDL)
A fascinating, engaging study of the eccentric at its heart, the film also serves as a chilling reminder of the lack of understanding of schizophrenia in 1960s; capturing the truly harrowing nature of a most crippling illness. (research Chris Coetsee) “
“Life is a sexually transmitted disease, mortality rate: 100%.” (RDL) Never mind.