PADDLETON, simply put, breaks your heart. Director Alex Lehmann captivates with a stunning yet bleak picture of two best friends dealing with one’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, and the fact that instead of dealing with the pain of cancer, the friend chooses an assisted suicide.
Of course, the subject matter of terminal cancer and assisted suicide is one that brings tears to many. However, Lehmann, as well as main actors Ray Romano and Mark Duplass, brings a certain sadness and poignancy to the table. Pair this with the bleak setting of a small 2 floor apartment and the greyish, miserable cinematography, and you have a recipe for some moody cinema.
The last twenty minutes of PADDLETON are agonising to watch
The first hour of the film is fairly boring, with some dark comedy and a little character development of the two friends Mike (Duplass) and Andy (Romano) but I definitely felt unfulfilled in both aspects. You meet the unlikely pair, who play the titular made up game together (similar to squash) and repeatedly watch a cheesy kung-fu flick. There are a few jokes about their dynamic being similar to that of a gay couple while staying at a hotel, but I didn’t get that feel from them at all. However the last twenty minutes of PADDLETON are agonising to watch, and are honestly worth the hour long wait.
The penultimate scene, where Andy has to administer the lethal dose of medication to kill Mike is one that I feel will stick with audiences for a while. Even though I didn’t feel that connected to Mike or Andy throughout the film, seeing Mike go through the multitude of emotions, from fear, to regret, to love for his best friend and finally to peace, was one of the most heart wrenching and difficult scenes I’ve ever watched. I feel that this is largely down to Duplass and Romano’s incredible performance, and I feel that their dynamic finally clicks in a way in the climax of the film.
Overall, I would recommend PADDLETON, but only if you do fancy a good cry in the middle of the night.
Rating: 3/5 stars