In European folklore, it is a widely known myth that babies are born into cabbage patches. The soft leaves act as comforting blankets as the baby is held and eventually delivered. This myth is bizarre, to say the least, and serves as the foundation of the offbeat fantasy adventure Patch Town, a film which combines the styles of Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam and meshes them into a dark, quirky and imaginative fairy little. Few films are as original as this and that’s a real shame because this movie is certainly one for the books.
Based on writer/director Craig Goodwill’s 2011 short film of the same name, Patch Town is a twisted tale of family, identity and acceptance. Jon (Rob Ramsay) is a toy doll who has been abandoned by his now-adult owner Bethany (Zoie Palmer). Since that abandonment, Jon has lived a bleak existence as cabbage patch baby shucker in a factory. These babies are then transformed into dolls and become the property of children throughout the land. Things get complicated when Jon discovers a dirty secret concerning the overseer of the factory called Child Catcher (Julian Richings) and the evil plans he has for the doll-babies.
Few films are as zany and vivid as Patch Town, a movie which prides itself on being exceptionally weird. Filmmaker Craig Goodwill is relatively new to the game, having helmed a hand full of short films. Patch Town is his first feature and the results are really quite strong. It is a film that takes a classic myth and expands it into a film that is equal parts strange and equal parts entertaining. The writing may not be the strongest factor but the direction keeps things very interesting. This is the type of movie Tim Burton used to make and Goodwill’s vision is a thing of absolute beauty. Terry Gilliam would also be proud with many of the characters and sets being larger than life and fantastical.
Another great quality of Patch Town is the acting, with many of the cartoonish characters only improving the already stellar quality of the proceedings. The film is also part musical and star Rob Ramsay (It’s a Boy Girl Thing, Blue Mountain State) shines as Jon, a former doll-turned adult factory worker. Providing double duty as lead actor and singer, Ramsay is quite simply, a breath of fresh air. Julian Richings (Man of Steel, Cube) also adds a touch of class (and fright) as the villainous Child Catcher. The Child Catcher has a righthand man in Kenny (Ken Hall), and Mr. Hall definitely steals the show with his small stature and brilliant comedic timing. Rounding out this cast of oddballs is Suresh John (Shoot ‘Em Up, Bulletproof Monk), who plays Sly, a friend and sort of spiritual advisor to Jon.
Patch Town may not be for all tastes but it is a truly special film. A strong cult following might be in store for its future and Craig Goodwill is destined to join the ranks of some of sci-fi and fantasy’s cinema’s biggest names. Here’s hoping Mr. Goodwill will continue to share his beautiful artistic gift with the world for years to come.