Written by #AlonYoung
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, there have been an encouraging number of cinema projects geared towards speaking out against the frankly prehistoric culture of toxic masculinity and predatory behaviour that women are often subjected to in many environments.
That is thankfully an issue that is moving more and more to the forefront and hopefully, beginning to be cut out of society. Patron, an award-winning short film by filmmakers Emily Haigh and Alon Young adds another rather unique but every bit as important voice to an equally important message.
“What kind of world is this!?”
Vickie (Calvey), an ambitious young woman, is looking to progress her career and manages to secure herself an interview with a rather prestigious company that might be her way of getting a strong foot in the door. Vickie arrives confident, determined to make a good impression but soon discovers that her interviewer (Lee-Hill) and the her much older would-be mentor (Charlton) are less interested in her CV, and much more interested in her other “credentials”.
Patron certainly delivers a new and surreal way of presenting its subject matter. Almost Lynchian, the film sometimes seems a bit raw, rough, scrappy even. There are beats of dialogue here and there that dangle intriguing threads but which are seemingly never resolved, but its surreal nature never manages to derail its overall message, and in fact all aspects of the film seem to be moving in the same positive direction.
It’s a directing collaboration that clearly works as both Haigh and Young are clearly on the same wavelength at all times here. The #shortfilm plants its feet firmly and quickly, it’s close-quarters setting, unnerving score and sinister mise-en-scene immediately serve us with an uncomfortable atmosphere which only grows more awkward as the film goes on. This, along with some impressive and creative writing, keeps the viewer on tenterhooks the whole way, quite unsure and in fact a bit worried about how this is going to all pan out.
The cast also manage to play their part with some performances that might seem larger than life, but sadly probably don’t stray very far from the truth. Both male leads deliver an abundance of chauvinistic bravado and sickening behaviour, shrugging off innuendo and sexual suggestion therefore emphasising the point of the film, Lee-Hill’s interviewer is positively dripping with sleaze and Charlton’s lecherous old man is sat practically drooling in the background. But Calvey’s performance as well as Vickie’s resolve are more than a match, managing to show both the strong outer shell she has developed through too much similar experience, but also allows us a small window to clearly see the psychological scars such battles have left before.
Empowering and very different, Patron manages to show how women have historically been cracked and broken by male oppression, but ultimately, it’s now time to fight back.
Watch the trailer here: