Patient 001 Image

Patient 001

By Bobby LePire | February 18, 2019

Eddie comes to the house to apologize, though Leo is away on business. Josie appreciates the gesture and discovers the boy has a degree in architectural design, inspired by Leo’s work. Josie finds out the boy needs a job, so she hires him to finish a well in the yard, as their usual worker has habitually fallen behind. As Eddie spends more time there, Josie finds herself inexplicably drawn to the young man. Leo returns home, furious that the dognapper, unintentional though it was, is at staying there. As the atmosphere at home becomes more intense, demons from Josie and Leo’s past find their way back, as the truth of who Eddie is comes to light.

Patient 001 is director Katie Fleischer’s feature-length debut and is her first movie in some 15 years. Those two elements combined might seem like a warning, but right from the opening sequence, Fleischer proves any sense of trepidation wrong. It is a minute away from turning to the New Year. Josie is drinking champagne with Leo. However, Leo is lying in the hospital bed, already at The Horus Institue for a decent amount of time. Josie is crying and then climbs atop her husband and has sex with him. It is an opening that might turn some off, but thanks to the directing and writing (the scene is intercut with workers at the medical facility) it works at setting up the desperation and love Josie has for Leo.

Fleischer co-wrote Patient 001 with Jason Dietz, and their dialogue tends to be on the exposition-heavy side of things. However, their creative ambitions easily outweigh any negatives that may cause. The question posed at the start of this review is just one of the complex ideas at play. One’s soul and whether or not it is tangible and can be shared is at the heart of the nightmares plaguing Leo’s waking life. The surreal imagery created to represent this facet of the movie is another feather in the director’s cap.

“…the filmmakers tackle lofty questions about life and the essence of souls…”

For their part, the cast proves capable of delivering these big ideas and intense dramatic turns believably. Noah Fleiss doesn’t enter the picture until a little before the halfway mark, but he is quite impressive. His charisma makes Josie’s quick attraction to the young man understandable, while his physical presence makes for a formidable threat later in the movie. As the doctor who creates the clone, Michel Gill is calm and collected, selling the idea of cloning in a way that makes it believable.

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  1. Mary Synek says:

    Bravo!!! Well described. Patient 101’s complexity and originality is indeed “epic”. I loved how the classical and psychoanalytical references are interwoven without being obtrusive. The primitive fears, taboos and rivalries still embue our workaday and digitally enhanced lives. Ms. Fleischer hits that perfect note of a tmeless thriller, churning up Hitchcockian anxiety wth style.

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