Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

A wounded neck, the letter H drawn with bloodied fingers on a filthy mirror. Home is bleak. It starts bleak, remains bleak, escalates. Home is nowhere. Home is homeless.

Tommy is thick beard, old glasses, wool cap, tattered jacket. He's been away. You've seen Johnny Harris in things, like many of those involved in Channel 4's Coming Up he was in This Is England '86. He's anonymous here, lost behind that beard, that hat, thick glasses and an anxious mouth. Hunched shoulders, a hint of Scottish. 'Hen' here and there, that lilt and burr. He meets Mary, a dishevelled Lorraine Stanley, juggling cans of high-strength lager, shuffling and twitching down the streets. There is swearing. She is unwell. Tommy protests - "You're a loopy cunt today". It might be every day. It's been a few days since they've seen Howie.

Tommy and Mary are together. They perambulate, grey shades lost in the blur of traffic, detritus amongst abandoned lockups. Tommy breathes, thinking. Others haven't seen Howie, Michael says he might be in trouble. Abdel is worried. They've got reason to be. Nobody has seen him. Stories are exchanged. The time Howie brought sandwiches, all sorts, even prawn. Tommy tries to address a concern, when Howie strong-armed Mary onto the game. They had money then.

Subsistence drinking takes its toll. It is a messy, untidy, disheartening existence. A lost tooth held in filthy hands. The tube whistling by, an overground section in a stretch of greenery like a visitor from another world. Michael an ambassador, Branko Tomovic's performance unhinged, unreal, grounded. Literally so, clutching the grass of parkland. Statistics about the proportion of those homeless with longstanding illness, mental or otherwise. Unsettling focus, the lip of a footbridge, tracks leading nowhere. Anthony Welsh as Abdel, close to adopted by Mary and Tommy. He's looked everywhere, couldn't find him. It's a mess. Tommy jaws at the air with his beard, hangdog beside the shuffling swagger of the drinkers. For all the signs of life around them this is a dead world. They are strangers here, among the lights, even to each other. A moment of comedy as they try to explain how someone lost their fortune becomes distressing. What blindnesses does it indicate, what lack of knowledge or opportunity? We'll never know, but can wonder. Wonder and despair.

D.C.Moore's script feels authentic, the tribulations of homelessness in London, human desire for community, order, and technically astute, escalating through ever more painful revelations. Abdel dreams of success for him and Howie, managing to steal "a fairly new Ford Focus". It is a small dream, but it's telling, moving. Baff Akoto's direction is confident, smoothly dealing with the greys and greens of London's depressed and abandoned interstices, the rush of traffic past the shambling couple. There's a realist's eye here, not surprising given his documentary background. His 'Football Fables' examined the way European teams harvest talent from Africa, and Home is similarly unflinching.

This is an excellent film, rewarding audiences with a slowly crystallising sense of dread. It is not the sudden shock of startle and scare, but the mounting unease of humans doing as humans do, and Home delivers.

Reviewed on: 12 Jul 2011
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Home packshot
Homeless acquaintances discuss the apparent disappearance of a man they know.

Director: Baff Akoto

Writer: DC Moore

Starring: Johnny Harris, Lorraine Stanley, Branko Tomovic, Anthony Welsh

Year: 2011

Runtime: 24 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2011

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