Matt helms ‘Home’
Musicians, authors and filmmakers have asked that of me in the past, and the few times that I’ve been brutally honest upon request has caused more anguish than I’d ever want to inflict on anyone again. As artists, most of us wear thin skin. But to be perfectly truthful, there’s nothing about Home that had me groaning in my seat, bolting for the door, or opening the window to Frisbee the DVD into outer space. Sorry to disappoint you, Matt: it’s not a bad picture at all.
Not polished, not slick, and certainly not without its flaws. And the tenuous genre it belongs to — the chitchat picture, for lack of a better term, ninety minutes of gradual, revealing discussion — is dependent upon the writing and editing prowess of its creators, the spontaneity and freshness of its actors, as well as the flexibility and patience of the viewer. I’m not sure when this deviation of Cinéma vérité took off — perhaps with John Cassavetes and Eric Rohmer in the ‘60s, and Henry Jaglom in the ‘70s.
In keeping with that select group, this is a bare bones effort set over the course of a party in Brooklyn, New York. The dicey use of a single location — a three-story brownstone, we learn, that’s not really a brownstone — is mined for every room, nook and crevice, leading the viewer through halls, patios, staircases and hidden alcoves. As people pushing thirty mingle, flirt and try to impress one another, we’re invited to eavesdrop on personal conversations, pick up on attitudes, learn of secret longings, and watch personal triumphs and defeats as they come and go.
Heading the ensemble cast are Jason Liebrecht as a slightly woozy visitor; Nicol Zanzarella as one of the residents of the brownstone, and eventually the object of Jason’s affections; Erin S. Visslailli as a hostess who watches helplessly as her love/lust interest falls into the arms of another woman; Stephen T. Neave as her emotionally immature prey; and, in an example of bravura casting, Pavol Liska as the kind of arrogant intellectual manipulator/prick that I’ve run into far too often at far too many gatherings just like this.
For those who are in or near New York City, Home opens this week at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre, call for info: (212) 591 0434.