Magazine article Screen International

'Mobile Homes': Cannes Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Mobile Homes': Cannes Review

Article excerpt

British actors Imogen Poots and Callum Turner star in this US-set debut from Vladimir De Fontenay

Dir/scr Vladimir De Fontenay. France/Canada. 2017. 105mins.

The journey to a better life is derailed by a succession of wrong turns and bad choices in Mobile Homes, a plaintive, downbeat tale in which a house never quite becomes a home. The feature debut of Vladimir De Fontenay is an accomplished piece with a committed central performance from Imogen Poots, but the emotional impact is lessened by an air of predictability and the sense that every bit of fresh hope is destined to end in disappointment

Poots' rootless drifter Ali is quickly established as a woman who will do anything for her eight year-old son Bone apart from the right thing. She constantly flaunts the line between independence and irresponsibility as the boy is leftto his own devices or allowed to wander offalone. "He knows how to get home," she tells one concerned social worker.

Struggling to stay afloat, Ali and boyfriend Evan (Callum Turner) driftfrom cheap motels to random nights in abandoned homes (the film was shot around the Niagara Falls area). Meals are consumed at diners where they run away and never pay the bill. Income is earned by supplying birds for illegal, underground cockfighting matches which De Fontenay captures discreetly. The dream is to make enough money to secure a place of their own and build a future together.

It is often hard to feel sympathetic to Ali and a life on the margins that requires her to beg, steal and deny the reality of her circumstances. At one point, Evan even employs Bone (engaging newcomer Frank Oulton) to sell drugs. As long as there is hope in the air and sex in the offing, Ali seems content to stay by Evan's side. …

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