Yesterday at work, I read on Matt Zoller Seitz’s blog that his debut feature, Home, was playing at the Pioneer Theater for the next few days. As I’m a fan of his criticism, I was curious to see what this film was all about; a number of solid reviews didn’t hurt, either. About the film, Seitz states that
“Home” gave me a chance to visually express some of the aesthetic qualities I value as a moviegoer, which I guess makes it a continuation of criticism by other means.
It’s a damn good debut, and well worth seeing. It was shot on digital video, and while the picture quality sometimes suffers from this, Seitz’s use of sound more than compensates; the film is set at an all-night party in Brooklyn, and while watching it, the density of overlapping conversations, background music, and assorted sounds that one might expect to hear at such a gathering. (The phrase “Altmanesque” could be used to describe the approach here.) Seitz’s use of the camera is never static — there’s a lot of movement, and some interesting, occasionally impressionistic, frame composition that
The whole thing is well-acted; the party and its attendees feel organic and authentic throughout. That said, there are a couple of one-off lines that aren’t lingered on, but on further review, border on the metafictional. And there’s one terrific moment where a character breaks into a soliloquy and the film leaps into a lengthy montage, heavy on the bittersweet, that works despite being a drastic shift in tone from the rest of the film.
The dialogue has a loose, realistic feel to it — though I suspect that much of it is scripted, as at times the music and dialogue dovetail in ways that resonate too well to be accidental. I was reminded more than a little of Andrew Bujalski‘s Funny Ha Ha — both Bujalski and Seitz have made films that are painfully authentic, where there’s a very
subtle underlying structure, and with an artful use of both glibness and inarticulate moments. I’m glad to hear that Seitz has more film work on the way:
I am already in production on two short films that will be finished by the end of the year — both science fiction — and I’m just about done with a new feature script, an adaptation of a detective novel that was critically acclaimed in the United States and has acquired a cult following in France.
There’s a generosity towards all of the characters in this, and nearly every character appearing on screen has some role to play in the film. There’s a lot to like here.