Patagonia does something that's become quite common in contemporary cinema; it attempts to tell parallel stories based around a single theme. Like with Robert Altman's Nashville, pretty much the model for how this structure works, director Marc Evans (Snow Cake) chooses to make the setting of his film the lead character; in this case, the South American region referenced in the title.
As an audience, we're allowed to watch as two separate couples travel the land; one a romantic pairing (Nia Roberts and Matthew Gravelle) that drifts apart as the story develops, another a young man, Alejandro (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart) tricked into voyaging to Patagonia with his elderly neighbor, Cerys (Marta Lubos).
The latter tale is the more interesting of the two and I couldn't help wishing that Evans had chosen to focus only on Alejandro and Cerys' journey. The other story arc comes off as overly soapy in a film where the tone doesn't justify the dramatic excesses of the material, resulting in a film that feels more than a little schizophrenic at times. Even though you can easily guess how Alejandro and Cerys' story will end, it's lovely to watch as the two meander through Patagonia, searching for the farm where Cerys' mother used to live.
Patagonia will screen for the public at the Lake Twin Cinema today (Feb. 11th) at 8:30pm and at Pioneer Place 5 on Feb. 14th at 8:45pm A final screening will occur on Feb. 16th at Cinemagic at 6pm.
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