If Lars von Trier hadn't been fueled by the mythology of self-love (I'd say it happened in Antichrist, 2009), he would have churned out a film like My Patient: A Social Satire. A Morbid Sports Horror Drama and a movie reminiscent of von Trier's The Idiots with a David Cronenberg twist of scary villain weakness. This is the second film from Norwegian writer-director Kristoffer Borgli, whose first film Drib (2017) was a parody of the marketing industry, and in some ways the new film is also about marketing. It does, however, provide a shocking glimpse into how far a person will go to gain attention in the new age of social media addiction.
The film, which premiered at Cannes last year, is from the same production team responsible for The Worst Man In The World, and part of the unusual way the film draws you in is that it was shot in Oslo and is about a film. A young couple living together: Sine (Kristin Kujat Thorpe), a barmaid with a restless and brooding aura, and her boyfriend Thomas (Erik Setter), a charming artist who dreams of being part of society: embarrassing. Early on, they are at a restaurant celebrating Sini's birthday when Thomas takes the opportunity to make off with a $2,300 bottle of wine. His art uses a similar impulse. He builds it out of stolen furniture and creates enough gruesome contraptions to have a big news moment.
But Sick of Me, despite Thomas' cult, is Cine's story, and it's such a soul show that it takes the audience a while to figure out what's going on with it. When a pedestrian with a dog biting his throat stumbles into the cafe where Sine works, he sets out to heal him and possibly save his own life—an act of Samaritan, despite Sine enjoying the attention. He was bitten by the fame virus. At dinner with Thomas, she improvises to attract more attention;
At this point, let me say right away that I was about to leave the movie. This fake allergy attack is something only a deeply deranged narcissist would do, and Borghli, as director, has no way of determining that Cine is such a person. If "The Patient" were a "psychodrama," it could be said to lack a decisive element of belief. But while the film isn't exactly fantastical, it's still a horror film that works with such a shockingly grotesque logic that it's hard to argue why it hits you on the level it does. It really is Cine's Dr. Jekyll or the monster undergoes his amazing transformation.
With a new ethos of passionate exhibitionism to rival the dogged tenacity of Oslo's art-world celebrity Thomas, Sine encounters news of a Russian-made anti-anxiety drug called Lidexol with disastrous side effects. , causing a rash that looks like colored veins that burst out of the skin immediately. Sine meets a drug dealer, the nervous Stia (Steiner Klumann Hallert), who can get you anything on the dark web. He orders her a load of Lidexol, and as soon as he gets his hands on the big yellow pills, he starts popping them. They are soothing (eyelids droop in the middle of the day), but then the rash only appears as a red flower stalk growing on her arm and face. In the beginning, it can almost be a tattoo. Then the ridges get deeper and uglier. Then he appears as an accident victim. It's The Living Ugly Night.
In old transformation horror movies (and many new ones), the hero is actually the victim. He doesn't choose to be a vampire or a demon slayer or anything else. However, Sine chooses to become Oslo's biomedical lady elephant, and the psychological horror of that choice is the dramatic engine of The Patient. Although Sain is in relation to it, the sympathy of God's grace around, then some kind of public sacrifice, then the news, then the bigger news, who knows and what nobody does; that he prefers to look like that. Accept illness instead of health. He prefers a kind of disfigured martyrdom to the more excruciating terror of anonymity. Now he's a tabloid craze. But he is also a star.
Most horror films have teams of visual effects artists to depict the digital fashion, but Sick of Myself's visual effects team, led by makeup artist Dimitra Drakopoulou, creates something subtle and artistic. They make the slow erosive degeneration of Cine's face funny and real. Christine Cujat Thorpe gives a stunning performance under this makeup. it shows how Sine is trapped in the misery that feeds him as well. "Sick of Myself" is becoming more and more a dead end of sorts. As Siné becomes more popular, her image is shaped by a new inclusive fashion impulse. She was in a marketing campaign for a new asexual clothing line (an ad shot accompanied by punchy dance music, a shot of her looking into the camera and saying "I feel good no matter what. No matter what"). The satire is a bit didactic, but if "My Sick" is anything to go by, the film is about Sin using the sick person she's created to replace herself. Because he thinks there is nothing.
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