(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This is a compact little blackmail thriller set in Northern Ireland. Like J.D. Salinger, Sandy Duffy's reputation is based on one single novel that he wrote decades ago. That novel's reputation has supported him since. A celebrity author, he has a comfortable life with one little self-indulgence. Every few months he likes to steal some little item from a local shop. Robert, the security manager at one shop, catches Sandy in the act on closed-circuit television. But Robert does not want to get the police involved. It turns out he is lonely and desperately looking for a friend. And he decides that he can just force Sandy to be that friend. Director Michael Lennox's feature film debut is this script written by Michael McCartney and John Cairns. The story is tense even if not particularly new and fresh. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

Years ago, Sandy Duffy (played by Conleth Hill) wrote one book that became a modern classic and was popular enough to make him a celebrity. He has not written another book since but he is a familiar face on literary programs on television.

Sandy also has a quirk. Every once in a while when he wants a thrill he shoplifts some small item for the thrill of the danger. This time he really has found danger. The security manager of a shop caught Sandy in the act. That manager is the insular Robert (Stephen Graham) has caught Sandy on the closed circuit television. Sandy can see his pleasant lifestyle falling apart and begs Robert to let him go. It would be "a favor from one man to another." The pleading should not save Sandy, but Robert gives in. For a while Sandy and Robert are good friends or Sandy pretends they are. But Robert does not want to end their companionship. Sandy's willingness to be pal-sy with Robert starts to wear thin. But Robert can at any time he wants ruin Sandy's life. What follows is a neat little cat and mouse game.

The plotline is not unfamiliar. With some minor variations it is quite similar to FATAL ATTRACTION and perhaps other films involving blackmail.

One funny touch: it sounds like characters in the film are saying "acrophobic" when what they really mean is "agoraphobic." Sandy is not afraid of heights, he just does not want to be around strangers.

A PATCH OF FOG is set and (I assume) filmed in Belfast, Northern Ireland, giving United States viewers a feel that is slightly exotic and occasionally makes the dialog a little hard to understand.

While some of the plotting may be familiar to some viewers, the story is a tight efficient little thriller. I rate A PATCH OF FOG A low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10. A PATCH OF FOG will be released in the United States on January 24th.

Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2181282/combined

What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a_patch_of_fog

                                      Mark R. Leeper
                                      Copyright 2017 Mark R. Leeper