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Home is where the anguish is

THE ASIAN AGE. | MIHIR REBELLO
Published : Dec 9, 2018, 12:34 am IST
Updated : Dec 9, 2018, 12:34 am IST

Even drama in cinematography can be used wisely, and that is exactly what we see in Homecoming, an Amazon Studios production.

Julia Roberts brings her vast body of work to shine with this series.
 Julia Roberts brings her vast body of work to shine with this series.

Homecoming
STAR RATING:  4.5/5 (knocked off half a point because I have my reservations on the studio biggies pushing for ‘the drag’).
MUST-WATCH: I have assured you earlier that you’ll watch it and I will reassure you now that you have no choice in the matter.

Even drama in cinematography can be used wisely, and that is exactly what we see in Homecoming, an Amazon Studios production. In this instance, the creators (Micah Bloomberg, Eli Horowitz and Sam Esmail) have chosen to include just enough of it to give structure to the plot. Sam Esmail in particular (creator of Mr Robot) shows us just how versatile he can be with his plotlines, all the while exuding golden prowess as a director. And as if that were not enough, it stars Julia Roberts at her naturally talented best and Bobby Carnavale bringing his A-game to the screen. It’s about time more filmmakers give the viewers what they can be comfortable enough with not to have to stretch the imagination to the point where they aren’t in control of the experience anymore, but more on this later.

The series begins with an introduction to a rehabilitation centre for ‘traumatised’ war vets — the quotes because it’s uncertain at the moment (season 1, Episode 10). But there’s more to the situation than that. There’s an experiment being conducted by a privately funded organisation in which these vets (and some of the employees) are unwitting testing subjects. When Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) in the future — yes, many chronological jumps — is beginning to wonder why she can’t recall her time at the facility where the experiments are being conducted. She just about remembers that she was there. OK. That’s it for the plot. You’re going to have to watch it and see for yourself. You’ll watch it. I know.

The most prominent feature of the series is its extreme watchability, which is sublime to the point of going through at least five episodes without having realised it. This is in part due to the 25 minute run-time of each episode (as opposed to the current trend of 50 to 55 minute-long ones in most other TV shows). In my books, this gives it points. More people will consider launching into it or at least wanting to wet their feet. But that’s ok, as before you knowit, you’ve unwittingly launched into it anyway. In my opinion, that’s a better route for filmmakers to traverse to take a viewer’s control away.

I’ve never been a huge Julia Roberts fan myself, actually. She’s always been this talented actress who somehow never shone. Homecoming changed that for me. It’s almost as if all her achievements over the decades have culminated in this perfect showcase for immense talent and ethereal beauty. I mean, this woman refuses to age!

Now, I know many of you are still squirming about the chronological jumps. Don’t worry too much. It’s not one of those with the baffling back and forths. It’s just right. They really knocked it out of the park this time. If true form were to be maintained, without the temptation to stretch the ultimate goal here, three to four seasons is what my best estimates would indicate for the show’s future. But if new layers of plot are introduced, dragging unnecessary drama into the picture along with it, seven to eight seasons is what I foresee. Let’s hope this isn’t the case though, because way too many series have already been soured by random twists, characters and plot shifts which seem to be thrown in just to get more airtime. This will ensure that the story is mutilated and dragged through the gutter by sheer aimlessness and inevitable anticlimactic endings.

— The writer is a coffee roaster, vaping enthusiast, cinema buff and seeker of unique stories.

Tags: julia roberts, homecoming