Monday, February 27, 2006

"Home" Review

Home
Directed, written and edited by Matt Zoller Seitz
2005, Brooklyn Schoolyard LLC

Review by Sujewa Ekanayake

I may be the wrong person to review "Home" due to my relatively narrow taste in movies (some favorites: "Amelie", "Mystery Train", "Annie Hall", "The Unbelievable Truth"), however I do want to talk about this movie because: I can see that Matt Zoller Seitz, the director of "Home", is very talented, his next feature may be a major breakthrough, and "Home" might be the ideal film for some people. In its promotional material "Home" is billed as a romantic comedy-drama that takes place one night at a party at a house in Brooklyn. "Home" plays like a combination of: a well made documentary like re-enactment of a 20-30 something year old, city-dwelling creatives party where much happens but not much of significance, a collection of a few comic and surreal moments, and several short stories about dramatic moments in several romantic relationships. Due to the fact that "Home" does not fit neatly into any one currently existing category of movies, I would classify it as an Experimental Romantic Drama and approach it as such in order to get the most entertainment value from it.

Bobby (played well by Jason Liebrecht), a mid-late 20 something man dressed in a black suit, shows up early to a party being thrown by the housemates Susan (Nicol Zanzarella) and Rose (Erin S. Visslailli). The film stays with the party from its under populated beginning to its over crowded peak to its "time to clean up, no one's here to help" ending. The key story being told is the one between Bobby and Susan. Bobby pursues Susan throughout the night, has to figure out how to deal with the presence of Susan's ex-boyfriend Tomaz (Pavol Liska), and I'll leave it up to the viewer to find out if Bobby gets Susan or not. Within the frame established by the Bobby-Susan story we get to witness dramatic moments from a couple of other relationships. One involves Susan's housemate Rose and another involves a pair of guests who are a constantly squabbling couple. In between these stories we get to see some odd, some mundane moments from the party: two beefy dudes trying to figure out who is the strongest, few people hanging out on the front steps and making music at times, a guy who hangs out alone in the back yard interpreting people's dreams.

The dream interpreter (played very well by Dennis Cabrini) scene was probably my most favorite scene in this movie. It is well acted by all, and beautifully lit and filmed. In this scene two party guests (including Bobby) approach the dream interpreter, one at a time, get their dreams interpreted, and leave. This simple scene has an almost David Lynchian surreal quality to it, but with sweetness, not the Lynchian dread.

The cinematography by Jonathan Wolff is excellent. Even though the film was shot in color digital video a couple of years ago, at points it felt like I was watching an art/indie/foreign
16 MM black & white film from the 60's. There is also a lot of great music (performed by King Radio, Matt Wilcox, Kristin Mainhart, Dave Zoller, and several others) spread throughout "Home".

This debut feature by Seitz shows promise and I look forward to seeing what he will do next. "Home" is probably fun to watch on a big screen, with a bunch of upbeat people who are talking back to the screen. So for all you indie film fans in NYC, your chance to do just that is coming this week. "Home" plays at the Pioneer theater from Thursday March 2 to Wednesday March 8.

1 comment:

David Lowery said...

Good review, but I'll take umbrage with this:

"Home" is probably fun to watch on a big screen, with a bunch of upbeat people who are talking back to the screen.

There are only certain kinds of films (and/or contexts) in which it's appropriate to talk back to the screen, and I'd say Home definitely isn't one of them.