Fantasia Festival Review: Patrick

There is no standardised way to deal with grief, loss and trauma. We all deal with it in our own ways, but naturally could probably use some help along the way.  Some people go off the rails, try and drown their sorrows in the bottom of a bottle or have a complete mental breakdown. Others may just go silent. Retreat into themselves. Look calm on the outside but are secretly unravelling inside. In Tim Mielants’ new film, our eponymous ‘hero’ channels his energies elsewhere.

Patrick (Kevin Janssens) is the unassuming type. As he approaches forty, he’s still living on his family’s idyllic rural nudist camp. Whilst the site itself is run by his father (Josse De Pauw); he helps out with any odd jobs needed. When one of his hammers goes missing, it troubles the taciturn man. After his father dies, Patrick channels all his grief and energy into discovering who has taken it. It rapidly becomes an obsession.

The first thing you’ll notice about Patrick is the nudity. It’s an intriguing setting and one which is done so well that it doesn’t distract. The campers are an oddball bunch and there’s a typically amusing cameo from Jemaine Clement. Janssens impresses. His mix of stoicism, inner turmoil and dogged determination is a winning formula. Patrick is strange and unique vision. Not all heroes wear clothes.

Patrick screens at Fantasia Festival.

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