Netflix’s psychological thriller mixes Agatha Christie and Allan Poe, and you won’t be able to look away

Christophe Charrier’s 2022 French psychological thriller “The Lost Patient” tells the story of Thomas Grimaud (Txomin Vergez), a 19-year-old boy who has woken up from a three-year coma. Her parents (Audrey Dana and Stéphane Rideau) and cousin (Matthieu Lucci) were slaughtered, and her sister, Laura (Rebecca Williams), has been missing ever since. Thomas barely survived the stab wounds he received. Without remembering anything, he is accompanied to the hospital by the psychologist Anna (Clotilde Hesme).

After so long in a coma, Thomas is also unable to move, so he undergoes physiotherapy sessions where he meets Bastian (Alex Lawther), another recovering patient. During the sessions with Anna, she tries to remember her life with her family and what happened on the night of the tragedy. Through flashbacks, the film brings out fragments of memories of living in Thomas’s completely dysfunctional family circle. Laura, who was her best friend, was a rebellious and abrasive girl. When asked what his sister means to him, Thomas replied, “Everything.”

The film leaves us with a clue as to what would have happened when the boy begins to have visions of a soaked and hooded man who appears to him at dawn and apparently tries to kill him. So the most obvious explanation is that the trauma is causing him to hallucinate. Thomas also begins to distrust his therapist and falls into a spiral of paranoia where he believes that people know what happened and know where his sister is, but they won’t let him see her.

But it is worth noting that the narrator is unreliable, and his main goal is not to clarify the events of the tragedy, but to confuse the viewer. As Thomas puts together the puzzle of his life in his mind, Alex Beaupain’s soundtrack follows like a lurking shadow, always heightening feelings of distrust and tension.

Another clue left by the film is the exchange of glances between the characters who seem to be keeping secrets and at the same time anger and fear for each other. These angry looks even appear in scenes where there seems to be no tension, no fights or arguments between them, leaving something in the air for the public to notice. There is a secret that everyone knows and that no one tells. The director wants us to notice this, because every time there are these exchanges of glances, the camera takes a nice close-up of the faces. It is as if he said to us, “realize this.”

But between easing and complicating the path to solving the mystery, Charrier prefers to keep things more nebulous. In “The Lost Patient,” the film delivers truths and lies, and it’s up to us here to identify what each one is.

The film has a rather slow pace. You have to be patient and play alongside Charrier, who co-wrote the script with Elodier Namer, inspired by Timothé Le Boucher’s comics. Highlight of the performances of Txomin Vergez and Rebecca Williams, who manage to move so well between scenes where their characters seem vulnerable and others where they are quite explosive.

Movie: The lost patient
Direction: Christophe Charrier
Year: 2022
Sex: Mystery/Horror
Note: 7/10

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