Patrick (1978)

PATRICK (1978)
Article 2802 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-9-2009
Posting Date: 4-15-2009
Directed by Richard Franklin
Featuring Susan Penhaligon, Robert Helpmann, Rod Mullinar
Country: Australia

A woman, separated from her husband, gets a job nursing a young man who went into a coma after murdering his mother and her lover. She begins to suspect that he’s not entirely dead to the world… and may have developed psychic powers.

Though it has a somewhat offbeat approach and doesn’t feel like a ripoff of any other movie (calling it a cross between COMA and THE FURY just doesn’t do it justice), I found this Australian thriller curiously uninvolving. Part of the problem may be that, with a central character who spends the entire movie lying in bed and staring off in the distance, it’s a little difficult making him compelling. Most of the action falls onto the shoulders of the character of the nurse, and she spends most of the movie doing the one thing that is most likely to weary me; she spends it trying to convince people that the events she’s witnessing are real and ends up only making herself look crazy. Overall, the movie feels somewhat confused and oddly edited, but, given that the movie was cut from an original running time of 140 minutes, that’s understandable. Still, it’s hard for me to believe that this movie could have sustained that length; I started to get antsy and bored early on waiting for things to start rolling. The movie must have been popular enough, though; it inspired a sequel, albeit one that was made in a different country. On a side note, this is the second movie in a row to feature a troubled woman having bad experiences involving a typewriter.

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