“The Patient”, immersed in the head of a tormented teenager

Thomas, 19, wakes up from a long coma, nailed to a hospital bed. Three years earlier, he was found unresponsive in the family home, a knife in his stomach, his parents and his cousin murdered at his side. Disoriented and amnesiac, the young man is assailed by terrifying nightmares and even hallucinations, which revolve around his sister Laura and a threatening black figure, whom he believes responsible for the murder of his family. A psychologist comes to help him reconstruct his memories but, little by little, the sensitive teenager convinces himself that she is trying to manipulate him.

Freely inspired by a comic strip by Timothé Le Boucher (Glénat), Christophe Charrier signs an intriguing psychological thriller mixed with family drama. The director, noticed in 2018 for the TV movie Jonah which already addressed the torments of a bruised adolescence, fluidly intertwines the present, the past and the snippets of Thomas’s memories.

Dark and creepy atmosphere

By a subtle play on the lights and the decorations which change in the middle of the scenes, the staging constantly blurs the tracks and gives the impression of plunging into the meanders of the disturbed psyche of the adolescent. A disorder accentuated by a dark and distressing atmosphere, which takes up the codes of the horror film (the storm, the bedroom in the basement…) and puts the nerves to the test.

The young actor Txomin Vergez, yet new to the screen, deploys a wide range of expressions in order to restore the contradictory emotions that run through his character (stunned, grief, anger, etc.). Facing him, Clotilde Hesme brings a touch of ambiguity to the figure of the psychologist, capable of passing in the blink of an eye from distant coldness to compassion. Finally, let’s salute the original music composed by Alex Beaupain. Alternating piano, electronic sounds and children’s choirs, it distils muted concern, terror or melancholy, without becoming too intrusive.

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