Language: Flemish, Dutch
Director: Fien Troch
Music: Johnny Jewel
Cinematography: Frank van den Eeden
Sebastian Van Dun
Flemish female director Fien Troch’s fourth feature film HOME is the recipient of Orizzonti Awards’ BEST DIRECTOR trophy in this year’s Venice Film Festival. Its script, written by Troch and his hubby Leunen (who is also moonlighting as the movie’s editor), is inspired by a real-life shock-horror matricide incidence in Belgium, and Troch boldly wields a firm hand to dissect this ghastly tragedy, and she takes no prisoners to dramatize the morbid miscommunication between Generation Z and their parents.
Kevin (Van Dun), a withdrawn 17-year-old boy freshly released from young offender institution for an unspecified assault offense, is arranged to live with the family of his auntie Sonja (Sileghem), who agrees to take him in under the plead of her sister, Kevin’s mother (Dottermans). Kevin starts to work for Sonja’s husband Willem (Cleiren) and decides to sever the ties from his hoodlum past and finds it extremely difficult to grapple with his ingrained violent propensity.
Kevin spends spare time with his peers, his cousin Sammy (Bellemans), Sonja and Willem’s son, an ordinary high-schooler, Sammy’s recalcitrant girlfriend Lina (Suijkerbuijk) and his best-buddy John (Guidotti). A latent encroachment is mutedly developed within the film’s 107-minute length, both Lina and John would grow affinity towards Kevin, one is ventured by mutual sexual allurement, another is fraternally platonic. Troch and her DP Frank van den Eeden integrate their fly-on-the-wall shooting principle (occasionally interposing sequences shot in iPhone video format into its cropped Academy-ratio frame) with a matter-of-fact style of documenting these juveniles’ quotidian struggles, Kevin is often provoked for no substantial reason and John is both emotionally and physically blackmailed by his abhorrently needy mother (a horrifically nauseating performance from Deceukelier) for love and sexual gratification, and Troch really sticks her neck out when the graphic shots of a boy’s member in a scandalous incest scene (certainly it is a film not suitable for the prudish) pop up unceremoniously.
The untested young cast contrives to round out the story in a less showier fashion against an overblown plot congested with hackneyed confrontations and lurid transgressions, particularly for the first-timer Guidotti, whose anguish is vehemently graved in his gangling bearing, and Van Dun, also in his screen debut, whose simmering angst can patently catch one’s attention without emphatic delivery. As for the adult thespians, Sileghem is the one stands out naturally when she can telegraph an unobtrusive tinge of befuddlement whilst jovially busy herself with the role of a benign guardian and an open-minded mother, until she realizes she is competent of neither. Overall, HOME is a hard-hitting exposé of something rather base, venial and controversial to watch with a poker-face, an art-house provocateur apropos, but can hardly go beyond that particular circuit.