An indie period film set during World War II, THE HOMEFRONT, directed by Todd Kaumans, is a unique, almost Captain America-esque story of a man who loses his brother in the war and strives to become a soldier and do his part, even while being disabled. When Karen and Tom (played by Ruby Higgins and Max Echterling respectively) find out their brother was killed in the line of duty, they struggle with their grief over their loss, telling their ailing mother of their brother’s death and the possible ramifications of that, and how they will carry on in their lives after their loss. All of that happens before the 5 minute mark. The other twelve minutes of this movie deal with Tom’s need to feel useful in the war regardless of his handicap, and his attempts to live up to his brother Johnny’s memory and heroism.
It’s really interesting how some actors and actresses really have that “timeless” look and fit right into period movies. The actors and actresses in this movie don’t exactly fit the period roles, but the production design certainly helps to get you to suspend your disbelief. The score of this film (provided by Dylan Stipek) is really well done, and the audio blend in this film is done well. The only complaint in regards to the audio is the ADR, which is really off at times, and the dialogue as a whole seems just a bit too loud.
The movie has a very unique look that doesn’t really lend itself well to the “period” aesthetic of the film, and seems a little too soft-focused at times, and very sharply focused on others. The lighting is also a bit uneven overall. This can be one of the disadvantages to shooting with a digital camera as this movie obviously was. Actual film stock (16mm in particular) would have really lent this film a whole other level of warmth on top of what this movie already delivers in regards to its story. There is also one parting shot at the end that was done in black and white, and in my opinion the entire production probably would have looked better overall, and maybe even lent to the period authenticity, if it was done in black and white with a little bit of film grain filter thrown in. A noble effort from a student film though, with a good story and good characters.
THE HOMEFRONT Review
FILM SYNOPSIS - When Tom learns of his brothers death on the front lines during World War II he is motivated to enlist for the military himself! He faces one problem though, he is disabled and in a wheel chair. With the help of his sister he must find some other way to contribute to the country's war efforts.