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A Patch of Fog Review

By David Kempler

The Fog Clears

I've always had a soft spot for crime dramas from the British Isles, even if I'm not sure why, but I think it began with "The Long Good Friday", starring Bob Hoskins, which if you haven't seen, I highly recommend you do.

Irish director Michael Lennox first caught my eye with "Boogaloo and Graham", his Oscar-nominated short film. In "A Patch of Fog", his feature debut, he shows even more promise. His case is certainly advanced by the help of his two leads, Conleth Hill, who played Lord Varys on HBO's "Game of Thrones" and especially Stephen Graham, who you may know from HBO's "Boardwalk Empire", where he excelled as a particularly vicious Al Capone.

The film is set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The city's cloudy, dark murkiness helps set the tone for the action. Sandy Duffy (Hill), who wrote a mega-hit novel 20 years ago, has been living off the royalties ever since, but it's not quite enough to allow him to live the life he wants. He also teaches a class in writing and is a regular guest on a television show that discusses current cultural topics. He's also romantically involved with the show's producer.

Even though he is far from poor, he constantly shoplifts from stores, even for items that cost next to nothing. He's a kleptomaniac. His habit catches up to him when Robert (Graham), the head of security for a store, sees Sandy pocket an item in his store via the store's closed circuit television system. Robert threatens to expose Sandy's secret penchant for stealing unless Sandy agrees to something. Robert wants Sandy to go to a bar and have a drink with him. Sandy hesitates but finally agrees to Robert's odd demand.

After their evening at the pub, Sandy assumes his debt is paid, but Robert sees it differently and demands to see Sandy again. Sandy balks at the idea, but Robert reminds him that he has the video tape of Sandy's thievery. This begins a struggle that throws the power back and forth between them, but ultimately, Robert holds all the cards. The question is why Robert is doing this to Sandy.

Lennox does a great job revealing the personalities of Sandy and Robert and the film has a dark look that accentuates the creepiness of both. The plot meanders in its final stages, but it's not enough to derail it. Sit back and enjoy what is essentially a two-man play on film featuring two terrific performances and an impressive full-length feature debut from Michael Lennox.

What did you think?

Movie title A Patch of Fog
Release year 2015
MPAA Rating NR
Our rating
Summary Full-length feature debut marks Michael Lennox as a director who may be on the way to a very successful career in film-making.
View all articles by David Kempler
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