Peaky Blinders director Tim Mielants makes his feature debut with Patrick, a Coen-esque caper centred on a nudist camp's handyman and his missing tool
Flemish director Tim Mielants’ feature debut, Patrick is a tender and funny tragicomedy set in a crummy naturist campsite in Belgium. It takes about a minute to get used to all the bobbing appendages on screen, but once you acclimatise, Patrick is a joy. Credit to Mielants and his co-writer Benjamin Sprengers, who resist the temptation to centre all their jokes around the nudity; instead the film plays like a Coen brothers-esque caper where everyone just happens to be naked.
The film revolves around the titular Patrick (Janssens), the site’s 30-something sadsack handyman who still lives at home with his parents, the owners of the woodland campsite. When Patrick’s favourite hammer goes missing, the search for his tool sends him on a spiral of self-discovery and deep into the dark underbelly of the nudist camp's internal politics.
Mielants honed his craft on TV shows like Peaky Blinders and Legion, but his visual instincts are deeply cinematic, with most of the inarticulate protagonist's emotions communicated through expressive use of the camera and evocative sound design.