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average rating is 2 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Oct 7, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Ross Power
Written by:
Ross Power
Tom Kerrisk, Michael McGarry

The Northern Irish entertainment industry seems to be going through a bit of the boom at the moment. Last year, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Belfast’ won plenty of awards clamour, whilst the likes of the witty comedy ‘Derry Girls’ and gritty drama ‘The Fall’ have achieved great success on the small screen. More recently, the more ordinary BBC drama ‘Bloodlands’ has captured the attention of viewers. ‘Homebound’ follows that same vein - straightforward police procedural set in Northern Ireland - failing to set the world alight, yet remaining engaging enough throughout.


Set in Belfast in 2008, ‘Homebound’ opens with a blurry clip of a man behind the wheel, nervously looking around as if he’s being followed. It’s an opening all too familiar to the low-budget short film - enough to create an air of mystery without giving too much away - and is a sign of the unoriginality to follow. We then join two detectives (Tom Kerrisk and Michael McGarry) arriving at the site of a murder. The victim is a homeless man - there are no witnesses, but we can tell something is off by the way McGarry’s character is prying at the body and the appearance of a mysterious woman in the background of a shot. There’s clearly something more to this story.


Kerrisk’s detective is a by-the-books family man - his wife is expecting a child and goes into labour. As much as he cares for his family, however, he cares more for the job - sticking around at the police station when new evidence comes forward instead of attending his wife’s birth. His colleague, McGarry, is more of a rogue figure, a fantastic detective but impulsive. He lets his emotions get the better of him when he isn’t offered a job and has the kind of face which would get Ted Hastings saying “bent copper” in an instant.


The characterisation of each character is too broad. It takes seven minutes at the longest to understand where the story is headed, leaving the second half of the film dragging. This isn’t helped by the score, which is too obvious and cliche, causing collective rolling of the eyes where it should create tension. Most frustratingly, the overbearing nature of the score often comes when the film demonstrates its greatest strengths - in the transition between environments. The cuts are perfectly timed - fast but not to the stage where you can’t keep up - particularly when the two detectives begin their interrogation of the suspected killer.


All throughout, director Ross Power’s prowess behind the camera shines through, proving to be a steady hand behind the camera despite abject lighting, which makes the film appear like a C-grade student project. Power’s script is also strong and masks the reductive performances of the entire cast, none of whom appear truly interested in their performances.


‘Homefront’ isn’t particularly complex - it’s a straightforward film with few standouts and a lot of subpar elements. It’s the kind of film you’d have on in the background, perhaps whilst doing some ironing, and that’s exactly why it would be perfect for a three-part Sunday evening drama. Your move BBC.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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