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TIFF Capsule Review: ‘Home Again’

TIFF Capsule Review: 'Home Again'

Jamaica is anything but an island paradise to the characters who’ve just been deported there in this well-intentioned but unconvincing drama by Toronto-based director Sudz Sutherland. All three have run afoul of recent legislation in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. that allows foreign-born persons who are convicted of criminal offences to be sent back to countries that many have not seen since they were children. Fresh from a stint at Rikers Island, Dunston (Lyriq Bent) soon finds himself working for a Trenchtown gangster and reluctantly sliding back into a criminal lifestyle. Meanwhile, Marva (Tatyana Ali) copes with the pain of being separated from her young children in Toronto. Yet the one who is most vulnerable to the effects of culture shock and isolation is Everton (Stephan James), a British teenager who initially acts like yet another big-spending foreigner on holiday but inevitably gets his comeuppance. Unfortunately, there’s little about Home Again’s trio of storylines that isn’t similarly predictable. Whereas the prominent use of Kingston locations lend a grubby authenticity to the early scenes, the film fails to develop any kind of distinctive sensibility due to its generic TV-movie packaging and contents that are largely devoid of the smarts and swagger that distinguished Love, Sex & Eating the Bones, Sutherland’s Best Canadian First Feature award winner at TIFF 2003. Criticwire grade: C [Jason Anderson]

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