Steve Carell spends a lot of “The Patient” chained to the ground of a basement, performing as a psychotherapist to his captor, a serial killer named Sam (Domhnall Gleeson). Not solely does Carell’s Dr. Alan Strauss toil across the thoughts of a killer, but he eats takeout with him and provides him recommendations as a result of his life will depend on it. Sam is aware sufficient that he wants to assist, however, he has gone about it in such unethical methods. Generally, Alan is even speed-therapizing, as when there’s a possible future sufferer within the boiler room, and Sam’s urges to kill appears able to take over.
“The Patient,” created by Joel Fields and Joseph Weisberg, tries to interact with true crime tradition by discovering its personal snazzy means into the thoughts of a killer, whereas partaking with our starvation to psychoanalyze a disturbed character. The premise of it runs out, resulting in a runtime that does a disservice to the items that may be efficient inside one man’s quest to get his captor to be taught what it looks like to be in another person’s sneakers. “The Patient” is a protracted journey to create empathy within the darkest of minds, however general it makes for an overlong, uninteresting thoughts sport.
Directed partially by Chris Long of FX’s “The Americans,” “The Patient” is caught in learning how to make this usually two-hander set-up visually attention-grabbing; as a substitute, we get extra dread from the small print of the basement, just like the unlocked glass sliding doorways which are ten toes in entrance of Alan’s attain. Episode by episode, “The Patient” repeats beats of Carell’s face, exhausted, accumulating his ideas, caught. There are daydreams that take us to his previous, and to his personal therapist, tangents that grow to be extra attention-grabbing than the frantic remedy periods.
Often called the “John Doe Killer” for the way he steals the wallets of his victims, Sam proves to be the uninteresting image of an everyday American psycho. For a way looking the function itself is—so desperately attempting to say one thing about Dunkin’-sipping, compulsive, delinquent mama’s boys who like Kenny Chesney—Gleeson comes up with so little. The portrait of a serial killer painted right here is simply too heavy on the presentation, with additional bushy eyebrows to go together with additional vacant stares, and the flatness of Gleeson’s line-delivery bleeds into the killer’s common monotone presence. Gleeson portrays this killer as a robotic brat. As an alternative to changing into extra chilling, it’s eye-rolling.
A part of this comes from how Sam is portrayed—the sequence doesn’t lean sufficiently into the absurdity of the idea, of this free-therapy-achieving captivity, blended with Sam’s additional unhealthy conduct. Transient moments of terror are introduced ho-hum, as with homicide in a parking zone that’s staged with little aptitude, and regularly stretches the comfort that this serial killer nonetheless has not been caught in any case. “The Patient” doesn’t favor displaying violence, but it surely additionally doesn’t know to learn how to make a sudden reduction to black, often with a stunned character gasping, register as all that terrifying.
There’s a sentimental undercurrent to “The Patient” that rises to the floor all through, largely thanks to Carell’s contemplative efficiency. In his captivity, Alan spends time interested in his personal relationship together with his son Ezra, who turned Orthodox (an “extreme Jew,” Alan calls him) and estranged from the household. When Alan’s spouse, a Jewish cantor named Beth (Laura Niemi) died of most cancers, that created much more stress. The sequence returns to Alan’s reevaluations about Ezra virtually as a respite from the basement, and it turns repetitive. It’s a long-winded means for the sequence to get to those emotions and revelations that might be poignant in a smaller dosage.
Carell helps style this as a survival story as effectively, in Alan accumulating his sense of inside energy that comes from his religion—together with an imaginative and prescient of the Man’s Seek for That means writer Viktor Frankl on the focus camp that impressed stated e-book. The weak stress within the plotting doesn’t feed a nervousness about Alan’s survival, however, we will no less than see the endurance at stake in Carell’s progressively weary gaze. All of the where, he should have a relaxed voice while utilizing totally different therapeutic strategies on Sam, strategizing methods he would possibly persuade Sam to finally let him go.
“The Patient” is the kind of elongated sequence that prevails extra with its sentimentality than its dramatic execution, partially as a result of the previous being extra valuable than the latter. Its coronary heart is in the proper place, particularly as a textual content that believes in remedy and empathy. However, its thoughts wander in circles when making one get what it’s attempting to say.
Full sequence screened for evaluation. “The Patient” premieres on FX on Hulu on August 30.