Detective Fiction

Director: Patrick Coyle

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


It's not unusual for an independent film to be largely the artistic fruit of one person's labors, but these films often evidence a kind of creative myopia, so it's encouraging to find a work whose imagination and insight are augmented by the singularity of its vision. This is certainly the case with Minnesota actor/writer/director/producer/playwright Patrick Coyle.

Detective Fiction is a cleverly constructed portrait of a couple who seem to have lost their bearings and are estranged, inhabiting the same home but existing apart. Jack (Coyle) is now sober but disenchanted and starved for love and adventure, while Jennifer (Mo Collins of Fox's Mad TV) just wants to feel something and tries to reinvent herself by going back to college.

Mixing genres, filmic reality, and fantasy, Coyle indulges in a Chandleresque reverie as Jack seeks an outlet for his repressed passion by writing a novel with a gumshoe alter ego. But this film doesn't need to rely on gimmickry, for Detective Fiction shines in its crisp, realistic dialogue and emotionally vibrant and realistic characters, especially vital and strong women., The result is a real and satisfying adult melodrama. Fresh and compelling, Detective Fiction is a funny, sensitive, and mature expression of life's trials and afflictions.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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