Jamie Lazan, S. Todd Townsend, Nneka Damali, MaryKate Magee, Nick Freedson, Kayci Rose
Action, Fantasy, Drama
You can certainly consider "Returning Home" to be part of the artistic side of stuff you'll watch. Is it all a dream? A hallucination? A whole bunch of relevant imagery is used throughout this flick, and smart split-screens are used to provide multiple reaction shots and give us a look at different ways people react to the material we see and hear in this film. You'll also see clever underwater scenes and a tremendous amount of effort being put into how "Returning Home" is shot - from multiple angles and points of view in general – all-in-all, that gives an artistic film like this a compelling visual aspect. You'll even see animations added into different scenes as well; "Returning Home" has very much tried a whole range of ideas in order to create something unique and largely succeeded in that regard for sure. It's a film that's all about the psyche, multiple personalities, many perspectives, and a whole philosophy class all rolled into one; it's like your art-house Drama class come to life onscreen.
I'm realistic in the sense that I know how I tend to watch things versus how the masses do – and I can certainly recognize that "Returning Home" would be a challenge for many people out there. I like art and poetry – this film incorporates both aspects into the mix, in addition to genuinely trying to do things differently. It addresses how we feel and the impact of our thoughts and emotions from an internal perspective, and it also really makes a valid attempt to show how we tend to talk to ourselves as well. Is all that confusing? Heck yes! Does everything line up from an easy-to-digest and absorb point-A to point-B direction? Heck no! You don't end up having to explain the obstacles of a film like "Returning Home" to writers like Jamie Lazan, S. Todd Townsend, Nneka Damali, MaryKate Magee, Nick Freedson, and Kayci Rose – they already know the many challenges of bringing ideas like these to the mainstream, and they've already decided to go against the grain to give it a shot anyway. Don't get me wrong, at the end of the day, I salute that, and I personally enjoy anything as different as this is – but it would be unrealistic not to realize how difficult this would be for the mainstream to experience.
There are some extremely great qualities in the writing that I certainly appreciate. In many ways, it's a wordsmith's dream to just listen to the way that the narration and dialogue have been written, and for those out there that enjoy something artistically designed, I'm sure there will be many folks out there that find many things to dig on through the course of this crazy trip. "Returning Home" takes on a wide variety of important subjects and makes us question whether or not we're the ones driving the train as we steer our way through life - or whether we're merely passengers on a cosmic adventure well beyond our comprehension or control. Jamie Lazan, who not only co-wrote but also directs this film, has really got a whole lot of potential and great ideas that will come in real handy over the course of a career – I think you've really gotta admire how many things are tried throughout the duration of this short film.
While it would be tempting to say there's almost too much going on within this limited timeframe, you could just as easily point out the fact that "Everything, Everywhere, All At Once" took home pretty much all the awards this past season…as in, yes, it's a lot to absorb and can be a little exhausting in that regard, but there's a ton to be appreciated about a film like "Returning Home" and its ambitious nature. I'm not saying that Jamie and the crew need to dial things back too much or cater to the masses – but there is a balance in there somewhere that will ultimately be the right blueprint forward in order to satisfy both the creators and consumers; you feel me? I'm always guilty of being entertained by what's different, and this exploratory adventure of existence and what makes us who we are is definitely that – different.
Stories like "Returning Home" that challenge typical conventions and what we think we know about movies and ourselves as human beings - possess the authentic innovation required to discover extraordinary breakthroughs. It's ambitious art like what you'll see in this film that should always be encouraged, even if it doesn't completely hit a home run straight off the bat; the more times you try to do things that other people wouldn't dare to; eventually you discover the right angle that works best.For now, as it stands, I'm going to meet "Returning Home" in the middle with a two-and-a-half-star rating out of five – Jamie's most groundbreaking work as a director is definitely ahead and a virtual guarantee to come out in the art of filmmaking, but there's no doubt this is an early glimpse of an overall potential yet to be fully realized. If you like your movies to be on the different and artistic side - there are lots of thought-provoking ideas, vivid visuals, and clever material to keep you engaged and your wheels turning long after it's all over.