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film review


2 out of 4 stars
  • Mobile Homes
  • Directed and written by: Vladimir de Fontenay
  • Starring: Imogen Poots, Callum Turner, Frank Oulton, Keith Rennie
  • 18A
  • 106 minutes

Imogen Poots, Callum Turner and Frank Oulton in Mobile Homes.Courtesy of Mongrel Media

In a grungy, depressive Canadian-made drama, a little boy picks at his face. An unready young mother tells him, “scratching only makes it worse.” The advice is sound – too bad writer-director Vladimir de Fontenay didn’t take it. Inspired by the sight of a prefab abode slowly being trucked along an American highway, the Paris-born, NYU-educated filmmaker de Fontenay made an award-winning 2013 short film, Mobile Homes. Continuing to scrape at an itch, he’s now based his first feature-length movie on that short. The result is a metaphor run amok, with a limp plot, implausible action and three barely sketched characters played drearily. Shot in the winter around Niagara Falls, Ont., Mobile Homes stars the beautiful British actress Imogen Poots, dirtied down as the sullen mother to an eight-year-old son who is naturally rambunctious but unaccountably silent. Mom’s boyfriend is a petty criminal and a cock-fighting enthusiast whose love is of the toxic kind. Driving a van and living in motels, these are low-level grifters whose pathetic American Dream is to become trailer trash. Their roads lead to nowhere. So too does this rootless, desolation-adoring film.