STARRING: benedict cumberbatch, jennifer jason leigh, hugo weaving, and jessica raine
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Patrick Melrose is a man from a very privileged yet traumatic childhood in the 1980s. Patrick's father was a very abusive man, and Patrick's mother put up with his behavior. Eventually, Patrick's childhood led him down a path into addiction and severe substance abuse in New York.
Where did Benedict Cumberbatch disappear to? In 2014 he seemed to be at the very heights of his pop culture stardom. Star of the Sherlock Holmes with thousands longing to know how he had miraculously survived The Reichenbach Fall, the sinister voice of Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy, and an Oscar nominated turn as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Sure he kept up the stellar work in Black Mass (lets not talk about Zoolander 2) and Doctor Strange but he seemed to disappear from the cultural landscape as fast as he arrived.
But never fear Cumber...(oh, I can't say his fans collective name here). Anyway, Benedict is back and at the very heights of his acting prowess.
The whole Patrick Melrose mini series, based on the autobiographical novels of Edward St. Aubyn, documents two days in the life of a wealthy but drug addicted toff in 1980's New York after the death of his father. We see throughout the miniseries through flashbacks that although from he was from an affluent family his childhood was a hideous one due to his bullying father.
Now the supporting cast of Hugo Weaving as Melrose's monstrous father and Jennifer Jason Leigh as his equally useless mother are both terrific this is completely Benedict's show.
As Melrose the addict Cumberbatch is neurotic, impulsive, offensive, hilarious, brash, irritating, and completely tragic. But its a performance that never ever feels like its heading anywhere near over the top or melodramatic. It feels like, with nearly every character Cumberbatch portrays, that he disappears and in this case an addict stands before you.
Even if he is not as pop culturally cool anymore Benedict Cumberbatch should be showered in every award possible for this performance. He completely and utterly deserves any accolade that would come his way as a result of this role.
An actor at the very height of his powers, Benedict Cumberbatch gives a performance in Patrick Melrose for the ages.