A Patient Man‘s titular character is Tom Anderson (Jonathan Mangum), who is trying to lead a simple life. He wakes up at the same time every morning, eats the same breakfast, and then commutes to his 9 to 5 job at a manufacturing company where he is seemingly well-liked and considered more than adequate. Yet, recently, Tom’s world was flipped upside down when he was in a terrible car accident, losing his wife in the process. Now that his injuries have healed, Tom must find a way to cope with his horrific loss and move forward. His idea of dealing with loss is more than just accepting and moving on; it is about getting even with those responsible. Everyone plays a part in Tom’s twisted journey, even if they don’t know it yet.
Writer and director Kevin Ward keeps everything about A Patient Man simple. The story is straightforward, the characters are interesting, and the somewhat repetitive instrumentals strewn throughout create an aura of despair. This allows the audience to empathize with Anderson and the people he surrounds himself with before the whole picture is revealed.
The term “simple” can have a negative connotation and can cause people to believe that something is underdeveloped. But this could not be any less true of Ward’s creation. Concerning this particular film, simple means that nothing was overdone, and the directness of its many parts allows audiences to remain engaged in what happens rather than having their minds wander. Ward, wisely, leaves much of Tom’s story in the dark, adding incredible suspense, and allowing audiences to piece together the character’s past and present as the film progresses.
“His idea of dealing with loss is more than just accepting and moving on; it is about getting even…”
What makes A Patient Man shine even brighter than the story is the acting. Casting director Leah Stanko Mangum chose relatively unknown, yet interestingly experienced, actors to fill the two primary roles. Jonathan Mangum, in the lead role, and Tate Ellington (Aaron Clarke) as his counterpart, deliver superb performances. The two actors share impeccable chemistry and wonderfully feed off of one another in each scene.
Like everything else in this dramatic thriller, the acting possesses a certain frankness. Most of the conversations may be considered dull by many, as it is spartan, everyday dialogue. But this allows Ellington and Mangum to develop scenes of passion, love, and dedication from the ground up. They, with the rest of the supporting cast, build a story that is elegant, deep, and meaningful.
Ultimately, Ward, alongside his cast and crew, developed a beautiful story of love, loss, and revenge unlike anything done before. His impeccable character development and poetically simple prose will keep audiences engaged and invested in what was unfolding before their eyes. If A Patient Man is any indication of Kevin Ward’s writing and directing ability, it is clear that he has a bright future ahead of him.
"…a beautiful story of love, loss, and revenge unlike anything done before."