Friday, November 25, 2011
Posted by Octopunk
In a rundown neighborhood about to be knocked over for new development, elderly residents are herded from their homes into waiting buses, their belongings crammed into trucks or perhaps smashed on the sidewalk, because who cares, really? The last building on the block is set to be emptied in a couple of days, and an arch, pretty, young state worker marches from apartment to apartment, issuing the official GTFO forms. As her eyes glaze over, each tenant tells their story, and why it means they can't move. My favorite was the old man who had spent all the years since his wife's death compiling the physical database from which to write their memoir. Stacks of books, newspapers and photo albums cover every surface, and now that he's got them all filed correctly, he can actually start the memoir. I probably sympathized with him because he's a lifelong procrastinator and because someday I myself will likely be forced to vacate a room filled with a ridiculous amount of my crap.
Perhaps I can handle it like these lovable old coots, who discover that lethal accidents on the nearby construction site lead to work stoppages, which mean more time in their home. Hmmmm...
Homebodies wowed me with its ongoing ability to defy expectations. Little surprises in plot, character arc and general tone keep happening until the very end (actually I thought the very, very last one was a tad silly, but it's not important). Somehow they make room for a whole array of cinematic deaths. Some are dark slapstick, some are sad and shocking, some are surprisingly tender. Another may start as a perfect pipe-in-the-ass situation, but then play out with honest, unexpected sympathy for the, uh, bearer of the ass. The larger tone of the movie is a similar exercise in shapeshifting -- sometimes absurd, sometimes suspenseful, sometimes brutal, sometimes heartbreaking -- but it all hangs together seamlessly, never feeling like one of those movies that doesn't know what it wants to be.
I don't want to reveal too much about the plot, but there are two things I want to mention.
First, the movie's take on the functional invisibility of the elderly is wonderful. An old lady can wander right into a crime scene, and they'll just politely escort her away. At one point late in the film, the gang is openly discussing murder while an annoyed security guard is shooing them out the gate, totally oblivious to what they're saying.
Second, watch out for Mattie, pictured above. She's like when you're looking at a soft, worn wool scarf and actually it's wrapped around a brick.
This movie is a lot of fun, and, more importantly, it's unique. Which is rare. So you should all see it.
at 10:41 AM