TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Patrick and the Whale’

Posted in TIFF 2022 by - September 09, 2022
TIFF 2022: Our Review of ‘Patrick and the Whale’

Sperm whales are a difficult animal to study. Outside of the beautiful yet typical nature shots and interview segments, Patrick and the Whale gives some of its screening time to pay attention to machines like camera and radios that the marine biologists use to study the sperm whales. One of these marine biologists is Patrick Dykstra, who loved whales since he was a child, and works hard as a lawyer to finance his studies. A specific incident in England retriggered his need to study whales, as he saw ten dead teenage male whales on the beach. This incident leads him from England to Dominica where he meets two female whales, Can Opener and Dolores, and studying them involves putting a camera on their large bodies.

One of the major revelations viewers can have is how one sided natural sciences can be. Which isn’t to say that I don’t trust the information that the film is presenting, I do. If anything, it’s Dykstra’s arc that opens up that realization. He starts out as someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to study these whales, no matter the cost, and ends up as someone empathizing with the whales and realizing that his methods of study, despite his good intentions, are intrusive to these indestructible creatures. The filmmaking complements these changing ethos although thankfully, the visual arcs aren’t as obvious. Again, the beautiful wide shots are here but the film becomes more interesting with its intimate approach to its subjects.

  • Release Date: 9/9/2022
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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