TIFF 2015 Film to Watch: A Patch of Fog
Michael Lennox exhibits a devilish streak that permeates his brilliant new film A Patch of Fog. Casting Conleth Hill in the leading role may have something to do with this devilishness. The reason is that while audiences may be most familiar with Hill from his recent turn as Lord Varys on Game of Thrones, (as well as a memorable six episode arc as Edward Darby on Suits), but Hill is fantastic as a chamelonic presence. So while there may be elements of Lord Varys at play in the character of Sandy Duffy in A Patch of Fog, (his almost baldness a consideration, incredible what he can do with just an absence of follicles), but there is something more at play, as well.
We think maybe that diabolical element, that power represents something so fleeting that permeates Sandy as much as it does Varys, and the weightiness of the role comes to the forefront. This is not Thrones, with the constant Nietzschean Will to Power at play and an idea that mortality is a virtue. The fact that Sandy Duffy and supposed antagonist Robert the security guard (Stephen Graham) are both flawed characters suggests that this partnership is doomed from both angles. Sandy is not the master of whispers, otherwise he might have thought to whisper into his own ear and prevent his compulsive shoplifting habit. For it’s just one item, one tiny measly, unimportant item, that leads Sandy from a successful life, (hit TV show, new woman in his life, the comfortable trapping of Upper Middle Class life) into a downward spiral of his own doing.
Because what Robert represents is not so much the underbelly of this particular society, because Sandy and Robert forge a sort of classless bond, but that Sandy is able to understand the need to assimilate greater than Robert ever could.
Sandy is not the man he claims to be, continuing to cling to his success of his one book that did not turn into a failure (and even this success may be unearned). Robert is the other side of the divide, a wearing your heart on your sleeve kind of semi-spokesman, but not able to truly get it.
What matters most in the world Lennox has created in A Patch of Fog is your station, and Sandy’s issues with his Dad and overall sense of self-flagellation seem to suggest that he is between stops.
Robert, on the other hand, may emerge the victor, but to the victor goes the spoiled.