Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Patchwork is a Vanity Project that Hits the Mark: A Film Review

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*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by the distributor, The Orchard.

**there are a couple of minor spoilers here.

Director: Tyler MacIntyre.

Writers: Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre.

Cast: Tory Stolper, Tracey Fairaway, Maria Blasucci, James Phelps and Corey Sorenson.

Patchwork has been completed since at least 2015. From director Tyler MacIntyre and writer Chris Lee Hill, the film has recently released through Video-on-demand, via The Orchard. A festival favourite, Patchwork involves a three-in-one deal, in which three women are sewn into one. The results should be horrifying, but they are more laugh worthy. Some of the awkward kissing scenes are laugh out loud funny. Meanwhile, a sub-villain and villain are pushing the action forward. One of the evil wretch's identity is only revealed near the end of the film. Also, the writers take the topic of cosmetic surgery to the point of hyperbole. What would happen if you took cosmetic surgery to the nth degree? The results are consistently disturbing. And, film fans should see Patchwork, if only for no other reason than to experience the amazing flying skills of Owl-cat!

The story begins with Jennifer. Jennifer (Tory Stolper) is a career woman, in a power suit. She has few friends and almost no one shows up to her birthday party, except for a kidnapper. There are more people to kidnap, though. Ellie (Tracey Fairaway) and Madeline (Maria Blasucci) will also be rounded up. Spoiler-alert, Jennifer is sewn together, with these two other women. Even their personalities are fused, in one busy brain. This monstrous triplet (named Patches) does their best to track down the evil doctor, who performed this illegal surgery. But, there might be one villain lurking much closer to home.

Patchwork is first and foremost a very funny comedy. The focus, of writers Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre, is to entertain. So, they have pieced together a number of great scenes. Outside of Owl-cat, there are a couple of very cringe worthy kissing scenes. One takes place at a hotel and it hard to watch. This scene could definitely be nominated for "Worst Kissing Scene in Film" and it would have won easily. But, there is an even worse kissing scene, in Act III. Set to slow motion, both sets of lips miss the mark. It is all slobber, from there. This viewer liked a late, simple scene - involving a frat' house. A strange scenario takes place in a bedroom, with the protagonist rampaging through this setting. The fraternity brothers are beaten to a pulp. And, one minor character, in an orange shirt, tries to sneakily escape Patches' murder spree. He is battered to the ground, with barely a bat of the eyes. The casual approach to the interaction is what makes it so hilarious. Patchwork offers a lot of surprising comedic scenes, many of which are found in the physical humour and dialogue. There are lots of opportunities to laugh while watching this comedic title.

This film fan also enjoyed the actions of both the villain and sub-villain. There is a mad scientist character, simply named the Surgeon (Corey Sorenson). He is the one responsible for putting the three women together. He has created a whole laboratory full of abominations, by the end of the film. But, there is also a hidden sub-villain, orchestrating the events onscreen. This mentally ill character is neurotic, in that they hope to become perfect. Perfection is an impossibility, of course. So, Patches must fight back against two creeps, in order to become whole again, or at least a bit less split up. The climax brings both villains and the protagonist together for a number of decent, action scenes. Blood, guts and body parts litter the surgical floor. The denouement leads to a final appearance of Owl-cat and even more guerrilla surgery.

The script does not really force a moral message. But, there is one here, hidden between the lines, involving cosmetic surgery. Again, Patchwork is more about entertainment than preaching. Still, it is strange to see how far some Hollywood actors and actresses will take cosmetic surgery. An addiction, this film critic recently saw the unrecognizable Mickey Rourke. Botoxed to the gills, Rourke could play the bad guy in any horror film, on looks alone. Not much better-looking than Patches on-screen, Rourke is an example of vanity out-of-control. There is a similar character in the film, who does not know when to stop, when it comes to looking beautiful; a scalpel or a needle is never the way to go, though. Self-esteem and beauty can rarely be found through surgery. While scriptwriters Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre never hit viewers over the head with the message, Patchwork utilizes hyperbole to show the evils of cosmetic surgery.

This critic hopes readers will see the film for both the hilarious scenes and for the deeper underlining (though subtle) message. Patchwork. is a curious film, with a number of strange characters. Together, they create a great deal of on-screen murder. Even frat boys cannot escape the chaos. And, Patchwork offers a number of laugh-out-loud moments. A sex scene involving an amputated arm comes to mind. As well, many of the scenes will resonate with viewers, thanks to the compelling acting. Actress Tracey Fairaway plays the ditzy blond, Ellie, very well. And, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is given a modern re-telling, here - through the 3-in-1 character Patches. Patchwork should be seen by indie film fans. If you don't see it for Owl-cat, then see the film as vanity project - one that is successful in showing the horrors of cosmetic surgery, in a comedic light.

Overall: 7.75 out of 10.

A trailer for the film, on 28DLA: A Patchwork Trailer on 28DLA

Patchwork at film distributor The Orchard: Patchwork Details at the Orchard

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