The Fifth Patient

The shifting perceptions of a bed-ridden American in an African hospital -- or is it a prison? -- form the warp and woof of the muddled "The Fifth Patient." Distinguished by a sinewy lead perf by fine character actor Nick Chinlund, pic should find comers in cable, though wider biz appears unlikely.

With:
With: Nick Chinlund, Isaach De Bankole, Brendan Fehr, Marley Shelton, Henry Czerny, Peter Bogdanovich.

The shifting perceptions of a bed-ridden American in an African hospital — or is it a prison? — form the warp and woof of the muddled “The Fifth Patient.” Writer-director Amir Mann scripted an episode of the most recent incarnation of “The Twilight Zone,”and pic’s toying with reality and identity is straight from the children-of-Serling playbook, with one loud exception: Ignoring Serling’s rule to leave ’em astonished, pic’s final revelations are both banal and foreseeable. Distinguished by a sinewy lead perf by fine character actor Nick Chinlund, pic should find comers in cable, though wider biz appears unlikely.

Awakening with massive memory loss, John Reilly (Chinlund) learns he has suffered a head trauma that’s kept him in a dank hospital for two years. The unnamed African nation’s army leader, Mugambe (Isaach De Bankole), suspects John of espionage, and John further learns the U.S. has no record of his entering the country. An encounter with a woman named Helen (Marley Shelton) further throws John for a loop — she may be his wife, or not — but the guessing games lose their intrigue since the underlying mystery is suspiciously thin.

The Fifth Patient

Production: A Shoreline Entertainment presentation of a Rebel Child production, in association with Cinemaprada. (International sales: Shoreline Entertainment, Los Angeles.) Produced by Darren Moorman, Amir Mann, Morris Ruskin. Executive producers, Cesar Vergara, Alex Floredana, Janklowicz Mann. Directed, written by Amir Mann.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Ben Kutchins; editor, Ryan Rothmaier; music, Sujin Nam; production designer, Monica Monserrate; costume designer, Annie Bloom. Reviewed at CineVegas Film Festival, June 10, 2007. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Nick Chinlund, Isaach De Bankole, Brendan Fehr, Marley Shelton, Henry Czerny, Peter Bogdanovich.

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