Home (2020) – Film Review
Director: Franka Potente
Cast: Kathy Bates, Jake McLaughlin, Aisling Franciosi
By Roger Crow
Franka Potente was all the rage in 1998 thanks to clever thriller Run Lola Run. In every video shop around the land you’d see her breathless face almost begging you to rent the tape. There was little wonder she was snapped up for the Bourne movies. But then she seemed to drop off the radar.
Now she’s back, this time behind the camera, writing and helming one of those navel-gazing dramas about sins of the past.
The anti-hero is Marvin, a 40-year-old tattooed guy who looks like a bit Channing Tatum (if you squint). He’s skateboarding down those gloriously desolate American highways, which immediately makes me wonder a) if you could skateboard across America, and b) how many spare sets of wheels would you need to complete the epic journey. Sadly, this is not a film to answer that question.
Instead, the charismatic protagonist arrives at a roadside convenience store, where he asks the young woman behind the counter for a fresh cup of coffee. She regards him with suspicion and calls for back up. Eventually her dad arrives and oversees her making coffee. ‘Oh this is going somewhere good,’ I think.
Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman called Delta is cleaning a hospital corridor, and stealing meds on the sly. She looks familiar. It’s only after the movie I realise she’s Aisling Franciosi, who played the serial killer obsessive from (two thirds brilliant, one third rubbish) drama The Fall.
When our caffeinated hero arrives at his mum’s house, and finds an African-American guy leaning over her bed, he assumes the worst and attacks him. But the guy is her nurse, and the sick mother is Kathy Bates, whose character, Bernadette, hasn’t washed her hair in ages.
Clearly as she once made a cracking thriller called Misery, Kathy now has to star in the odd indie drama which features nothing but.
It turns out mum has the C word (not the one ending in 19), and at this point, like so many others, I don’t need to imagine what it’s like to be the tattooed hero worrying about a sick relative; I lived through it for years, but I press on regardless as Franka inflicts more misery and woe on the viewer.
If you’ve seen Daisy Haggard’s brilliant comedy drama Back to Life, you’ll know the story structure involving a character returning home after committing some mostly unmentioned atrocity. This is more of the same, with echoes of the superior Dinner in America. Alas, it’s just so miserable that even a great cast probably can’t save it from being fast-tracked to the bargain section on iTunes and other VOD platforms in the coming months.
Redemption movies can be wonderful slices of entertainment, if they offer some fresh touches. This just seems to feature broken people smoking a lot or in need of a good wash. Misery 2.0 you might say.