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  Patrick Have They Got Nudes For You
Year: 2019
Director: Tim Mielants
Stars: Kevin Janssens, Hannah Hoekstra, Jemaine Clement, Pierre Bokma, Ariane Van Vliet, Katelijne Damen, Josse De Pauw, Jan Bijvoet, Francoise Chicery, Janne Desmet, Peter Gorissen, Bouli Lanners, Andreas Perschewski, Jean-Benoit Ugeux, Tine Van den Wingaert
Genre: Comedy, Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Patrick (Kevin Janssens) lives in a nudist camp with his elderly parents, acting as the place's handyman, a job he takes the most satisfaction from in an existence that outsiders may view as muted or a waste of time. But if he feels frustrated or depressed about his situation, he doesn't show it, or rather it would be difficult to tell, for he doesn't let much emotion show, being a taciturn, keep it all in kind of guy. However, his formerly peaceful and quiet life is about to suffer an upheaval when his father, who has looked after him since childhood, succumbs to old age and leaves Patrick with the camp to look after as owner...

But he is more concerned with something else: what on Earth happened to his hammer, usually kept in his tool shed? He has other hammers, but this was part of a set and as he investigates, he discovers you cannot buy that brand anymore, so he cannot get a replacement, so if he wants that tool back, he will have to find it himself. We can all sympathise with the feeling that something we own looks just right somehow accompanied by other possessions, in their right place, after all. But much of the attention on this film from director and co-writer Tim Mielants was on the fact it was set in a nudist camp, which meant most of the cast were naked for most of the running time.

Naturism has always attracted a curiosity from those who prefer to be clothed in public, and Mielants did not entirely gloss over the fact that the biggest crime amongst all these unclad forms was to feel horny. Our hero is used for sex by one of the middle-aged wives, who happens to be married to Herman (Pierre Bokma, renowned as the Belgian Marlon Brando), a man seemingly friendly to him. Whether Herman suspects this adultery is not revealed, but as the mystery unfolds - Patrick is supplanting his parental loss with his hammer loss - he does become suspect number one in the theft as the handyman turns detective, dolefully tracing the equipment's final steps as if this were some peculiarly deadpan parody of a Scandi-noir yarn.

Indeed, if you could get over the gimmick that starkers actors were going to be seen in every scene, just about, this operated as a fairly engrossing conundrum that thankfully was given a proper solution by the close rather than leaving the audience dangling. Albeit a convoluted one that you had to be paying attention to in order to work out why any of this had happened. It was also a sad ending for Patrick, not to spoil it but events did not develop the way he would have preferred. There was one international star amid the Belgians, Jemaine Clement, once again demonstrating his liking for picking off the wall projects as a rock star visiting the camp with his girlfriend (Hannah Hoekstra), though they shied away from getting their respective kits off.

Well, almost: Clement did have one scene where he was naked, but as a musician he carried a guitar strategically to prevent him being image captured and reproduced across the internet celebrity nudes sites. Meanwhile, Hoekstra was a young woman who finds she is pregnant, but isn't sure the rock star is the best bet for fatherhood - is this why she is strangely drawn to Patrick, who she strikes up a friendship with that is actually oddly sweet? But this was a comedy as well as a drama, and in its funny way a thriller, complete with a conspiracy, a murder (offscreen) and a full-on action scene when Patrick and Herman wrestle in the cramped confines of a caravan, all the while in their birthday suits. Not every star had the, er, balls to appear in a sequence like that, and you admired the casts for letting it all hang out in "yeah, so what?" manner. It wasn't hilarious, maybe it wasn't too suspenseful either, but it had a shaggy dog charm and you were benevolent to Patrick, who looks as if he will never understand the world. Music by Geert Hellings.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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