The Lost Patient review – meandering mystery that relies on its twist ending

By Louie Fecou
Published: November 26, 2022 (Last updated: last month)


A slow-burning cliche-ridden mystery thriller that fails at almost every level.

We review the Netflix film The Lost Patient, which does not contain spoilers.

The Lost Patient is a French psychological thriller written by Timothé Le Boucher and directed by Christophe Charrier.  It follows the story of Thomas, a 19-year-old boy that awakens in a hospital 3 years after the rest of his family has been brutally murdered. After he reawakens, he is given oxygen, but later in his hospital bed, he sees a hooded shadowy figure enter his room.

The mysterious figure climbs on the bed and starts to strangle him, but this is explained away as a panic attack. The next morning, he is still in bed and greeted by his psychologist Anna, who explains he has been in a coma, and that she is there to help him. She explains that his family was all murdered and Thomas had been stabbed, barely surviving, and there is also the problem of a missing sister. Together, they try to piece together the events that led to the horrific attack, and Thomas starts to have flashbacks.

The Lost Patient has a mystery at its center, and it is really this mystery that will keep people engaged in the story. Unfortunately, the film itself is a bit of a slow burn, and that can be a hard sell if it isn’t handled the right way.

The Lost Patient relies on moody music, plenty of rain and thunderstorms, and the eventually annoying exposition of his psychiatrist. In a flashback sequence, we see Thomas enter an empty room while the voice-over says, “That’s strange, an empty room in the house”. We can see that already thanks, no input required. Filled with all the tropes that we should really have moved on from by now, the result is a shallow and unengaging view that often looks and sounds more like a video game than a movie.

Scenes are dragged out, with lots of cuts of people just looking angry at each other, and this leads to more of a soap opera feeling than a high-concept crime thriller. As Thomas lies in his bed staring at a crack in the ceiling, I kind of knew how he felt. Thomas is undergoing physiotherapy in the hospital, but again there are just lots of awkward looks between characters, and the whole style that the director is going for just lacks any real tension or suspense. When the hooded man appears again, and Thomas is the only one who sees him, it is done so abruptly that it lacks any impact.

As you might surmise, there is a final act twist that the film seems to be very proud of, but again the bad pacing and abrupt denouement only add frustration to the proceedings, and it does not save the film in any way. A good twist should be foreshadowed and hinted at, allowing viewers to play the game along with the cast, but The Lost Patient fails to even manage that.

Slow, meandering, and finishing with an unsatisfying twist that offers little to help elevate what has gone before, The Lost Patient seems a little too self-indulgent, and seems to think that a clever ending will result in viewers forgiving its previous indiscretions, however for me it was not enough, and it all felt oddly hollow.

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