'Home Again' DVD Review: Deportees Drama Needs More Room to Grow

Home Again, available now on home video, has an interesting concept: the movie follows a collection of characters that left Jamaica when they were young and have now been shipped back to the country due to various illegal activities their hosting countries didn't approve of. Unfortunately, the concept doesn't translate clearly enough on the screen.

Home Again introduces a lot of characters and back story (too many and too much), but the narrative attempts to keep the focus on three "deportees." One is Marva (Tatyana Ali). She has been deported back to Jamaica and is away from her kids. Another is Everton (Stephan James) who is a young man shipped back from Britain who's having trouble finding where he belongs in his mess of a home. The last character is Dunston (Lyriq Bent) who is trying to leave his criminal past behind and work his way back to the States.

These characters and actors provide a lot of potential for the final product. The concept is fresh and a lot of the actors really give these characters their all. The unfortunate truth is that Home Again fails its characters and story by focusing on too many plot threads. The movie gives us little more than glimpses into the situations these characters find themselves in as we repeatedly jump from different points of view. No character has a plight we entirely see or understand. Everyone is shortchanged in this flick.

The "deportees" conceit is cool and would have worked if it had been the groundwork for a television series. However, there's too much material packed into too short a running time. Each of these characters deserves their own movie and the actors could pull it off, but instead this film wants to try and pull off the Crash style story where they weave characters' lives together. That doesn't always work. It certainly doesn't here.

This movie presents a culture not very well understood or brought across in the arts, but beyond that the film just doesn't cut it.

The DVD is a bare-bones release.


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