Saturday, January 21, 2017

A PATCH OF FOG: Michael Lennox's Brit thriller about enforced friendship hits VOD & iTunes

You could hardly ask for a better matched pair of sad/sleazy assholes than the two non-heroes encountered in A PATCH OF FOG, the 2015 British/Irish mystery thriller co-written by John Cairns and Michael McCartney and directed by Michael Lennox (shown below: this is his first full-length narrative film). The two characters are a security guard in a retail store (played by the always worth-watching Stephen Graham) and a semi-famous author/critic (played by Conleth Hill, an actor whom I've seen at various times over the years, but never in a leading role, as here).

When an act of shoplifting by the latter, catches the security camera and eye of the former, an edgy, off balance pas-de-deux begins between these two men that goes from threat and plea to quiet blackmail and beyond, in which one man, then the other, appears to have the upper hand. But what does the security chief, Robert (below, right) actually want of the blowhard critic, Sandy (below, left)? It takes a good amount of time for even one shoe to drop, and when it does the result is likely to make you feel more sad than fearful -- for more than half of the movie's running time, at least.

A Patch of Fog is indeed a mystery. But it is one involving character and motive as much as the usual thrills and chills. Thanks to some decent writing and smart directorial choices, the movie builds enough suspense and surprise to keep us interested. And it make a fine showcase for the talents of Graham (above and below, right) and Hill (above and below, left, and two photos below).

Graham is such a marvelously versatile actor (compare this performance with his in another fine British film, Blood, for just one example) that he does wonders with the character of the needy Robert. Hill exudes such smarmy, insufferable self-regard that we suspect more is going on within this guy that we're anywhere near privy to.

The film's ending, with a non-quite-unexpected surprise or two still up its sleeve, seems about as "just" as one could with for, considering the two characters on view.

Distributed in the USA by XLrator Media and running a just-about-right 92 minutes, the movie goes straight to home video this coming Tuesday, January 24, when it will hit VOD and iTunes simultaneously.

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