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Vladimir de Fontenay, Danielle Lessovitz (Artistic Collaborator)
MOBILE HOMES is a very intense film as evident in three of the film’s opening sequences. The first shows a mother, Ali (British actress Imogen Poots), frustrated to the point of blowing up at her inability to set her son up for aid due to lack of documentation. The next scene that follows is a highly charged erotic sex scene with the mother having it on with boyfriend, Evan (Callum Turner). This soon follows one where the boy, Bone (Frank Oulton) has to make a dash out of a diner to escape payment. Will he make it or get caught?
France born director Vladimir de Fontenay keeps up the intensity throughout the film though one soon has the feeling if all this is necessary or is he trying too hard. MOBILE HOMES, is as the title implies set in the white trailer trash surroundings of losers and dishonest low-life who would cheat and lie to get ahead just for a few bucks. Evan and Ali attempt one scheme after another, often with the help of 8-year old Bone who seems to have an affinity for his mother’s boyfriend who treats him ok, if not teaching him a bad thing or two on survival. There is another nasty bit in the story involving cock fighting. Bone has a rooster that he loves and carries around with him. There is also the question of using an underaged kid to sell drugs or do dishonest deeds besides banned outings like cock fighting.
At one point in the film, Ali confesses her desire to own a place of her own, so she can f*** in her own bed. This leads to a scheme of trying to own their own mobile home, though it may mean stealing from mobile homes owner, Robert (Callum Keith Rennie).
One wonders at the director’s fascination of mobile homes. His obsession can be observed right down to the film’s climax that include a high speed chase with Ali driving a vehicle with a stolen mobile home in tow. It is an extremely exciting and well shot scene, credit to de Fontenay and one that is guaranteed to have audiences at the edge of their seats.
The film is shot in Ontario around the Niagara region, which is where cheap tourism exists – a perfect locale for the film’s setting.
The trouble with MOBILE HOMES is that besides being a really nasty film, director de Fontena offers few redeeming qualities for any of his characters with the result that the audience does not care what happens to them. Why doesn’t Ali just start thinking seriously about getting a job to settle down? The prospect of a job is at one point offered to her by Robert, which she misuses.
While Poots and Turner deliver exceptional performances despite the film’s flaws, it is the boy Frank Oulton who is a natural. Whether getting lost, beaten or scolded, he is the only character that the audience feels for. The result, however, is still a film the audience is detached from.