Film review: Patrick

A still from Patrick

A still from Patrick - Credit: Archant

Closing moments mar the debut feature of Peaky Blinders director Tim Mielants, about a taciturn handyman on a nudist campsite who is distraught at the loss of his hammer

The great thing about the cliched naturist – a balding, paunchy middle-aged man standing with his hands on his hips on a beach or campsite whenever he’s not engaged in a game of badminton or volleyball – is that he is both comic and sinister.

The humorous and the unsettling are so closely entwined in this Belgian feature about a handyman at a nudist campsite, that after a while it is difficult to tell one from the other.

Taciturn and simple-minded, Patrick’s (Janssens) routine existence is thrown by the death of his father, who owned the camp. On top of that, he has lost a hammer – the middle one of a set of a seven that they don’t make any more.

As he searches for his hammer, some of the campers conspire against him.

Mielants has directed episodes of many prestigious TV shows (including the whole third season of Peaky Blinders) and his feature debut is a cheerfully slippery thing that defies easy explanation.

He has an eye for a telling image – the gap in the rack where the missing hammer should go is eerily effective – but the film drifts away in its closing moments.

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3/4 stars

Starring Kevin Janssens, Pierre Bokma, Ariane Van Vliet, Hannah Hoekstra, Bouli Lanners and Jemaine Clement. Subtitled. Running time: 94 mins.