Tambay, back in April (HERE), wasn’t giving you the bunk when he said that writer, producer and director Jono Oliver's dramatic film, Home, was “endearing” and, “Inspirational.”
The film, which stars Gbenga Akinnagbe, Tawny Cypress, Danny Hoch, James McDaniel, Joe Morton, and Isiah Whitlock, is a moving, engrossing and beautifully acted film that also works incredibly effectively as a solidly crafted “feel good” film.
Despite its serious subject matter, about a mental patient suffering from perhaps extreme bi-polar disorder, Home is far from a grim, dispiriting film. Just the opposite; it’s a film that deals with the eternal possibility of hope and that good things eventually do happen to good people, no matter their circumstances.
In the film, Akinnagbe plays Jack, who is a patient in a mental institution for what is possibly an extreme bi-polar disorder, and who is scheduled to be moved to a housing facility run by the institution.
However, Jack wants to be independent and on his own, not being under the care of others anymore. Being in the housing unit is just another prison for him, and he has arranged to move into his own apartment once he’s released. However, he finds out that the landlord has raised the rental deposit, and he is unable to move into it, which means he’ll be forced into the institution-run housing unit.
What follows is Jack’s increasingly desperate attempts to find the money to move into a new unit, while also trying to reestablish his somewhat shaky relationship with his family, who are trying to be understanding, but still damaged from ugly past experiences with him, leaving them all not very optimistic and very cautious.
Akinnagbe gives an extraordinary and poignant performance, both powerful and totally sympathetic. And yet there’s an edginess and unsteadiness in his physical movements, and a fear behind the eyes of his character. He is someone who is struggling internally to stay sane and balanced. You honestly pull for him and want to see him make it, to finally gain some small measure of happiness.
With his long experience as an assistant director on many major feature films and as a TV screenwriter, it shouldn’t be any surprise that Oliver shows his considerable skills as a director and screenwriter on his first feature film. There’s an assuredness in the camerawork, the pacing and the total structure of the film. It’s a truly impressive directing debut from someone who clearly knows what he wants and how to achieve it.
And if you in the Chicago area, Home will be shown this coming Sunday, Aug. 25 starting at 5:15PM, and again on Monday Aug 26 at 8:15PM at the still on-going Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago.
Oliver himself will be at the Sunday screening
only for a Q & A after the screening.
Do make a note to see it. You won’t regret it.
Below is a recent 30 minute interview with Oliver which also includes the trailer for the film: