Published on June 20th, 2016 | by Allan Brown0
EIFF 2016: A Patch of Fog Review
UK Release Date: July 8th (Theatrical), July 11th (Digital)
Running Time: 90 minutes
Director: Michael Lennox
Writers: John Cairns, Michael McCartney
Cast: Lara Pulver, Stephen Graham, Conleth Hill, Ian McElhinney, Arsher Ali
When Sandy Duffy (Conleth Hill, Game of Thrones); a University professor, Television panellist and esteemed novelist is caught stealing from a local shop by security guard Robert (Stephen Graham, This is England), his comfortable existence and extinguished career threatens to unravel, as Robert seizes the opportunity to blackmail him into an unsettling friendship.
What begins as paint by numbers stalker thriller quickly transcends into a more complex story of friendship, loneliness and that human desire to feel wanted.
The material here rests easy on the shoulders of both Conleth Hill and Stephen Graham who effortlessly command the screen in each of their respective roles. Conleth’s portrayal of Sandy is one of culture and intellect, which works fantastically well in contrast to Graham’s working class representation of Robert. Although Robert is a desperate character, Graham manages to balance the oddities with a certain vulnerability, thus, helping the audience to empathise and even sympathise with this tragic character. And although both are at the polar opposites in social, intellectual and economic stature in the world, Lennox expertly and subtly presents the many similarities they share as the story begin to unfold.
However, while there are many intuitive twists and turns along the way, A Patch of Fog does suffer from some obvious pacing issues. The desire to run through the same cat and mouse scenarios again and again, affects some of the momentum previously generated just when narrative should be driving forward. The film is also ‘tethered’ with simplistic metaphors; some hit their mark while others are laid on far too thick, feeling forced and devoid of any subtlety. Reason and logic also occasionally make way for convince in some lazy plot devices. However, these are minor gripes in what is otherwise a sharp British thriller and promising debut from newcomer Michael Lennox.
Summary: Graham and Hill deliver two dazzlingly intense performances in this unsettling and astutely accomplished British thriller.