Paper Mask


Crime / Drama / Fantasy / Mystery / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 6.6/10 10 696 696

Plot summary

A lowly hospital orderly impersonates a recently deceased doctor and goes to work in the busy ER of a small hospital where he meets and befriends a nurse who slowly figures out his secret and helps him maintain his charade.

August 03, 2023 at 05:09 AM


Christopher Morahan

Top cast

Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Thorn
Amanda Donohoe as Christine Taylor
Clive Rowe as Ants
Paul McGann as Matthew Harris
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
965.66 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S ...
1.75 GB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 45 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by RussianPantyHog 8 / 10


A truly 'gripping' movie, and hugely under-rated. I almost wish a Hollywood studio had made it instead. The cast could not have been better, but a (much) bigger budget and better marketing would have given this wonderful movie the recognition it deserves. Sometimes the sound and lighting quality was lacking and it seemed to be crying out for a, frankly, better Director. The music was so-so and the hospital locations cry out (as in so many British films) Low Budget. That aside, it's still riveting and I loved the way I felt so utterly "taken in" as the story unfolds. Paul McGann plays a hospital porter who feels undervalued and dreams of one day becoming a doctor. Fate intervenes as a real junior doctor dies in a car accident and McGann is told to clean out his room. He assumes the man's identity, applies for a job in another hospital and, well you'll have to watch it and see what happens. The reason I'm such a fan of Paper Mask is that I spent the first half of the film willing McGann on and "feeling his pain" and wanting him to succeed and then, very slowly, realising his character is actually a psychopathic b*****d who deceived me just as he's charmed and used all the people around him. I felt desperately sorry for Amanda Donohoe as the nurse who tries to help McGann's fake doctor, then falls in love with him and then discovers the horrible truth but knows she can't tell anyone as he's managed to implicate her in his crimes. It gives the emotions a real workout, and that's what I class as good entertainment.

Reviewed by Hey_Sweden 8 / 10

Have one viewing of this one and call me in the morning.

"Paper Mask" is a very effective little medical thriller, well acted and compellingly written. Paul McGann ("Withnail & I", "Alien 3") stars as Matthew Harris, an orderly in a hospital who aspires to bigger things. When a doctor whom Matthew resembles perishes in a traffic accident, Matthew decides to assume his identity. Now, he's "Dr. Simon Hennessy", and manages to get hired at a different hospital despite his lack of extensive medical knowledge. Entering into a relationship with a sexy nurse (Amanda Donohoe, "Lair of the White Worm"), Matthew / Simon has a very rough start at his new job, but is able to improve his job performance through study. But he won't be able to cover up his deception forever......

An intelligent film with something to say about ambition, and the protection of image & reputation, "Paper Mask" is quite gripping, especially once the story (John Collee scripted, based on his novel) is well underway and it starts to get quite dark and nasty. While McGann is able to make his character engaging, there's no hiding the fact that he's lacking in the compassion factor, something that the officious Dr. Thorn (Tom Wilkinson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel") has picked up on early in the game. When Matthew makes the decision to cold-bloodedly remove an obstacle in his path, any sympathy he might have earned before is completely gone.

More squeamish viewers will wince at the scenes in which Matthew mishandles various accident victims, and at shots of needles being inserted into hands and arms. That moment of the "doctor" trying to "help" a man with a bad hand wound is particularly distressing. But the overall film is just so good that viewers will find it worth their time to stick with it.

The acting is right on point, with the amiable McGann scoring as this rather immoral antagonist. Donohoe delivers one of her best film performances. The two of them are well supported by Wilkinson, Frederick Treves ("The Elephant Man"), Barbara Leigh-Hunt ("Frenzy"), and Jimmy Yuill ("Mary Shelley's Frankenstein").

As of this writing, there are only 10 reviews for "Paper Mask" at IMDb. So clearly it remains a little-known film that hasn't gotten its due. Producer / director Christopher Morahan ("Clockwise") and company definitely knew what they were doing, opening with McGann enjoying the strains of the classic Platters song "The Great Pretender".

Eight out of 10.

Reviewed by Woodyanders 8 / 10

Ingenious thriller

Ambitious hospital orderly Matthew Harris (an excellent and engaging performance by Paul McGann) wishes to rise above his lowly station in life. So he assumes the identity of a recently deceased doctor and gets a nice new job at another hospital. Assisted by helpful and smitten nurse Christine Taylor (an utterly charming and vibrant portrayal by Amanda Donohue), Matthew soon finds out that pulling off this elaborate and diabolical charade will be easier said than done. Director Christopher Morahan, working from a clever and compelling script by John Collee, not only wrings plenty of tension and a good deal of cheeky humor from the audacious premise as the viewer wonders how long (and how well) Matthew can get away with his bold hoax, but also astutely nails the smugness and arrogance of successful physicians who care more about their lofty social status than they do about their patients. Moreover, this movie illustrates in a chilling and provocative manner that Matthew's inexperience and incompetence make him no worse or less dangerous than his more capable and seasoned colleagues with medical degrees. The fine acting from a bang-up cast keeps things humming: McGann and Donohoe do sterling work in the leads, with sound support from Frederick Treves as the amiable Dr. Munford, Tom Wilkinson as the stern and suspicious Dr. Thorn, Barbara Leigh-Hunt as the sweet Celia Mumford, and Jimmy Yuill as Matthew's jolly working class pal Alec Moran. Kudos are also in order for Nat Crosby's sharp cinematography, Richard Harvey's spare moody score, and the daringly unconventional ending. A real sleeper.

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