I don't watch Game of Thrones nor Boardwalk Empire so walking into "A Patch of Fog", I didnt' have any pre-conceived notions of what to expect from Conleth Hill and Stephen Graham. Hill stars as Sandy Duffy, an author famous for a seminal work that's celebrating it's twentieth anniversary. Duffy is also a creative writing professor, a regular contributor to an arts television show and a shoplifter. Unfortunately for Duffy, he gets captured in the act by security guard, Robert (Stephen Graham), who blackmails Duffy into a one-sided friendship.
The tension between Duffy and Robert is skillfully maintained by director, Michael Lennox, who knows when to go for the close up and when to pull away and let the action unfold. The script by John Cairns and Michael McCartney is smart, well-crafted, and delivered with credibility by the two leads. Watching the successful Duffy, who is so imposing and opinionated in his own world of television and academia, reduced to beseeching and bargaining with the quiet, non-descript Robert is a fascinating voyage that is at once uncomfortable and relatable. Who can't empathize with someone who has a secret that, if revealed, could blow their world apart if uploaded on social media? Conversely, Robert is indeed lonely in his box of a room at work and in his modest apartment; and while Duffy has friends and fans, Robert has no one except his pet snake. The contrast and emotional sparring between the two men is further emphasized by the stature of the actors with Hill being the wide-shouldered heavyweight and Graham the quick-stepping bantam.
I had a ball watching this cat and mouse story unfold, and by the rare sound of applause at the end of my the Press and Industry screening, I was not alone in my appreciation of A Patch of Fog.
A PATCH OF FOG
Saturday, September 19
9:00 AM, Scotiabank Theatre (Richmond and John)
Details/Buy Tickets: http://tiff.net/festivals/festival15/discovery/a-patch-of-fog