Filmed almost entirely in his own Brooklyn brownstone, Matt Zoller Seitz's Home (2006) follows various interpersonal relationships as they unfold over the course of a party. The cast is large and diverse, from a brash salesman (T. Stephen Neave) to a writer of some acclaim (Pavol Liska) to musicians and philosophers and music aficionados. Seitz takes us from room to room, conversation to conversation, canvassing the proceedings, as if he's making sure there isn't something interesting he's ignoring.
When I'm at a party, I do the same thing.
This allows us to follow the Altmanesque web of stories Seitz has created while staying true to our two leads, Bobby (E. Jason Liebrecht) and Susan (Nicol Zanzarella), and their tenuous potential pairing. Bobby, as played by Liebrecht, is a bit of an introvert, often content to stand on the outskirts and just watch (he tells Susan that he's a great observer) when perhaps the best course of action would involve being a bit more proactive. And Susan? Well, Susan isn't over her ex, just yet. They intersect numerous times over the course of the evening, then withdraw, and each time we hope for that crucial moment where they'll really connect. So wonderfully elliptical is the dialogue that we're never quite sure when that might happen, if it will at all. Still, we hope.
When they do withdraw, Jonathan Wolff's camera floats around the room, more often that not finding the poetic images that are so often inherent in these types of situations. Some of them fall flat or seem to be the result of not having a good place to put the camera or not having fully thought out what the framing is trying to convey, but these are a minority. Likewise, with a cast this big and a budget this small, there are performances that are, let's say, less than good, but mostly those are the smaller roles. The key characters handle themselves well, their performances are largely solid.
At the end of the day, there's little that's extraordinary about Home (although there's several short stretches that are close), but a whole lot to like. Seitz displays a real talent, a grasp of the medium. Clearly, a filmmaker to watch.
Starring: E. Jason Liebrecht, Nicol Zanzarella, Erin Stacey Visslailli, T. Stephen Neave, Pavol Liska, and Minerva Scelza
Cinematography by: Jonathan Wolff
Written and directed by: Matt Zoller Seitz91 min/Brooklyn, NY
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