‘Patrick’ (2020) reviewed

❉ Kevin Janssens bares all in a potential cult classic…

“The necessary nudity in the film is rarely salacious or ridiculous and though there is a lot of humour in the film there are also many emotional and touching scenes… It is also a film about what it means to “be yourself” and not be defined by your position in society.”

“Sometimes you find what you’re looking for when you stop looking for it.”

Produced by Savage Films and released by Anti-Worlds, Patrick is the new feature film from Belgium director Tim Mielants (Peaky Blinders, Noah Hawley’s Legion) that charts the very personal journey of Patrick (played by Kevin Janssens), a 38 year old handyman who works at a naturist campsite run by his blind mother and ailing father. When his father suddenly passes away Patrick finds that one of his set of hammers has gone missing. The film explores his relentless search for the missing hammer but is also about displaced grief and charts a journey towards possible personal happiness and freedom.

With the death of his father the world around Patrick and the interactions in the camp are suddenly put in chaos and flux but his existential quest for the hammer becomes relentless and takes the place of the grief he feels. With his bowl haircut, his awkward manner and his lack of awareness of what is going on around him this is a touching personal story. Mielants states he had the idea for the film when as a child he visited a naturist camp with his parents and the idea involving the strange characters stayed with him. He wrote the film (with co-writer Benjamin Sprengers) whilst directing Peaky Blinders.

Percy’s progress: ‘Patrick’ one-sheet.

The necessary nudity in the film is rarely salacious or ridiculous and though there is a lot of humour in the film there are also many emotional and touching scenes.  The empty space on the wall of Patrick’s cabin where the hammer should be is always a symbol of emptiness and loss throughout the film and the plot regarding the hammer does take on a twist at the end. It is also a film about what it means to “be yourself” and not be defined by your position in society.

Kevin Janssens (who had to put on weight for the part by eating Haagen-Dazs ice cream) is excellent as the awkward Patrick and the film is full of quirky characters. Herman (played by Pierre Bokma) is an unpleasant “little Hitler”. His wife Liliane (Ariane van Vliet) seems more sympathetic but equally scheming and is having a (manipulative?) affair with Patrick. New Zealander Dustin (played by Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords) is an arrogant but quite likeable rock star. His girlfriend Nathalie (Hannah Hoekstra) who along with the Detective (Jan Bijvoet) is one of the only people to recognise Patrick’s real qualities is also herself searching for a way of being in the world. The shots of the forests and the interiors of the wood cabins are also beautiful.

Mielants directs a comedic script with seriousness to express this deeply emotional story. An impressive and likeable film that may well become a cult classic.


❉ Tim Mielants’ ‘Patrick’ (Flemish with English subtitles – 95 mins). Starring Kevin Janssens, Jemaine Clement, Pierre Bokma, Hannah Hoekstra & Ariane Van Vliet. In select cinemas and On Demand from 20 November 2020. You an can watch the film on digital platforms or chose to watch via Vimeo and select an Independent cinema to donate to (every time this happens the cinema will get half the revenue:) https://anti-worldsreleasing.co.uk/pages/patrick

❉ James Collingwood lives in West Yorkshire and currently contributes to the Bradford Review where he has interviewed Kay Mellor, George Layton, Tim Booth and Jeremy Dyson among many others. HisTwitter is @JamesCollingwo1

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