A Surprisingly Profound High Concept Thriller

Steve Carell and Domhnall Gleeson star in a darkly emotional new FX on Hulu present from the crew behind The Americans, a few serial killer who kidnaps his affected person.


By Valerie Ettenhofer · Published on August twenty ninth, 2022

In 2018, The Americans bowed out after six seasons as one of the crucial critically beloved exhibits on TV, with 4 Emmys and a complete host of lifelong followers to point out for it. Series creator Joe Weisberg and co-showrunner Joel Fields might have finished something on the heels of The Americans, however 4 years later, they’ve returned with a challenge each bit as thorny and considerate because the one they’re already recognized for. The Patient, a ten-episode FX miniseries obtainable quickly on Hulu, is a well-acted thrill trip that in the end challenges the thoughts, coronary heart, and spirit.

The present follows Dr. Alan Strauss (Steve Carell), a well known therapist and writer whose spouse died not way back. He isn’t probably the most demonstrative of psychological well being clinicians, however he’s useful, skilled, and wonderful at his job. His troubles start when he meets Sam (Domhnall Gleeson), an aloof and offended man who refuses to open up in classes. Then sooner or later, Alan wakes up in a basement, chained to a mattress. It seems Sam is a serial killer who desperately needs assist to curb his homicidal urges. Maybe, he thinks, a live-in therapist is the reply.

As with The Americans, the premise of The Patient is extraordinarily cool on the floor, however the execution is extra nuanced and heartfelt than viewers might ever anticipate. For a lot of the collection, Alan holds classes or as shut as one to get to a remedy session whereas in chains with Sam and makes an attempt to peel again the layers of his psychology whereas reflecting on his personal life’s regrets. Alan is Jewish, and The Patient is a present about Jewish custom and resilience as a lot as homicide and remedy. Its stunning power is in Alan’s solemn reflectiveness as he undergoes an inner change that’s as very important because the one Sam hopes to perform.

The Patient is a collection filled with significant and sudden contradictions decisions that zig as an alternative of zagging. It’s primarily a bottle collection. Its motion principally contained to the mundane decrease stage of Sam’s home. Its very deliberately rendered setting doesn’t function a design setup that evokes inhuman evil. There’s a sliding glass door to the skin world, a toilet with skinny partitions, and a rudimentary eating desk the place Sam brings Alan high-quality takeout meals.

The basement design isn’t inherently harmful, which is just about how Sam appears as nicely. Gleeson performs him compellingly as a slack-jawed, over-reactionary man with the emotional maturity of a youngster. An American one replaces his personal Irish accent, and Sam hides his penetrating stare below a fringe of black hair. Sometimes, the killer is darkly humorous. More typically, he’s unstable and irritating. Yet the present by no means appears interested by characterizing him as irredeemable, taking each its wild premise and the scientific lens of its therapist protagonist critically.

Carell’s efficiency is equally explosive, although in a extremely inner approach. The actor finest recognized for The Office has repeatedly confirmed that he can do drama with one of the best of them. Still, the claustrophobic, pressure-cooker setting of The Patient permits him to place in among the finest performances of his profession. Alan is extra mental than emotional, a refreshing change of tempo for somebody in a horror film scenario. Yet because the present continues on, it takes a pointy flip right into a stage of heavy emotional profundity with Alan at its heart.

Far from a sensationalized crime drama, The Patient understands the burden of its story each second of the way in which. As it shifts to heart Alan’s Judaism and the methods his household’s traditions have basically linked and disconnected them from each other, the collection positive factors an sudden gravity. Its emotional honesty and more and more uncooked emotion lay plain the truth that so many different exhibits which might be ostensibly about homicide are literally about viewers’ leisure. Not this one. Here, Weisberg and Fields craft a narrative that grapples with the burden of dying and ache in a real and unshakeable approach.

The Patient certainly gained’t be for everybody. It’s extra of a gradual burn than a heart-pounding thriller, although it definitely contains a number of twists and moments of excessive rigidity. Viewers have additionally sadly been conditioned to anticipate one thing completely different from our crime exhibits, one thing The Patient isn’t prepared to ship. It’s a noble-hearted but unblinkingly grim present that cares much less about viewers’ satisfaction than it does about their emotional funding and care. None of those are unhealthy issues, however all of them make this restricted collection a more durable watch than most of its contemporaries, particularly because it shifts into darker and darker territory because it unfolds.

Ultimately, The Patient succeeds not simply on the power of its two significantly proficient leads however because of its willingness to subvert style cliches and inform a good bolder story than its premise would point out. It’s a few serial killer in remedy, sure, nevertheless it’s additionally in regards to the profound expertise of putting up with the unendurable. That The Patient by no means closes its eyes to probably the most troublesome elements of its story makes it not only a daring and spectacular present however even perhaps a obligatory one.

The Patient premieres on Hulu on August thirtieth. Watch the limited series’ trailer here.

Related Topics: Hulu

Valerie Ettenhofer is a Los Angeles-based freelance author, TV-lover, and mac and cheese fanatic. As a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects, she covers tv by common critiques and her recurring column, Episodes. She can be a voting member of the Critics Choice Association’s tv and documentary branches. Twitter: @aandeandval (She/her)


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