Patrick Melrose (Cumberbatch) is a man from a very privileged yet traumatic childhood in the 1980s. Patrick’s father was a very abusive man, and Patrick’s mother put up with his behaviour. Eventually, Patrick’s childhood led him down a path into addiction and severe substance abuse in New York. In a tour de force role, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the titular character who struggles to overcome these damages.
“Suffering is what takes place while other people are eating.” Patrick Melrose.
The five-part Showtime limited series (now on the dutch NPO Player) , with each episode based on a different novel from Edward St. Aubyn. The series is a joint production of Showtime and Sky Atlantic and premiered on Showtime on 12 May 2018 to favourable reviews.
The direction by Berger combined with James Friend’s cinematography is sheer brilliant. The shots are beautifully composed and they ad an amazing sense of isolation to Patrick. Including the production design to the locations from the South of France to New York and London. It’s just stylish enough to catch your attention without being overly distracting.
The writing is sublime, you don’t want to miss a moment of the razor sharp dialogue or of the inner monologues of Patrick. The structure of the narrative is quirky and fun and the dialogue with typical British nobility is simply novel to screen witty and razor-sharp. The story does sometimes surpass the authentic reality of a real life junkie but never feels unbelievable. It enhances it and gives it his unique Wes Anderson characteristic signature.
“Cruelty is the opposite of love, not some inarticulate expression of it.” Patrick Melrose.
The pacing of the editing by Tim Murrell is truly spot on, together with music commission of Simon Changer (music editor) and Liz Gallacher (music supervisor) and the original compositions by german composer Volker Bertelmann.
Benedict is entirely believable as an upper class, abused and abandoned boy who turns his life and his will over to Heroin. Cumberbatch appears alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hugo Weaving, Allison Williams and Blythe Danner.
A truly one-to-watch series!
“Patrick Melrose” is available now to NPO START PLUS subscribers. All 5 Episodes below.
Patrick flies to New York to collect his father’s ashes.
Patrick suffers at the Melrose family house.
Patrick attends a fancy party in the English countryside.
Patrick spends the summer at his old family home in France with his wife, Mary, and their two young sons.
Clean and sober Patrick plans his mother’s memorial service.