Homeless Ashes Review
By Liselotte Vanophem
All you want to do after a long day at work is go home to have a quiet evening. On occasions, you might stop at the gym, pub or grocery store. For most of us, this seems like a no-brainer. It doesn’t come so easy for everyone, especially for all the homeless people around the world.
They’re people from totally different backgrounds but we look at them in the same way: Addicts who wasted all their money. With “Homeless Ashes”, director Marc Zammit wants to help those prejudices and homelessness out of this world.
If you’re going to check out this directional debut, you better take some tissues with you. “Homeless Ashes” is the most emotional, honest and eyeopening film you will see in a very long time.
Frankie (Hector Bateman-Harden), an ordinary boy living in London, is playing near the water when he meets Nicole (Angel-May Webb), a young and classy girl who brings joy into his life. However, Frankie’s life is everything but cheerful.
His mum (Angela Dixon) is being brutally beaten by his dad (Dean Maskell) and also Frankie can’t escape the abuse. One night, the abuse escalates to an unseen level and Frankie can’t help but try to save his mum.
This has catastrophic consequences for the family. Running away from home with just a small backpack seems the only way out of this misery for Frankie.
Fast forward to many years after those tragic events. Frankie (Marc Zammit) has now been homeless for many years and life hasn’t become easier.
He has to beg and steal for money and his so-called friends are anything but good to him. Frankie ran away from home to escape abuse but his past catches up on him. He’s being raped, neglected and beaten up more than once.
However, there’s still goodness in the world. While spending time at a homeless shelter, Frankie has finally found some happiness and close and unique friendships.
He became homeless due to his abusive family but other homeless men were once a soldier or a wealthy man who had a nice family. You notice that bad luck can happen to anyone and so to Nicole (Jamey May), Frankie’s youth sweetheart, as well.
While hearing that she got off the tracks, Frankie gets some more bad news to take in. It seems that his life has become incredibly dark again. Will it become too dark to handle or will his little lust for life keep him going?
It might seem that this is only about Frankie but it’s the total opposite. During our interview with director Zammit, he mentioned that he didn’t want to focus on one story because then the movie would end up becoming about an individual rather than about the topic.
That’s also the reason why Frankie’s story is the one that’s made up. The background stories of the other characters are based on real-life events. There are also some other elements that give this movie the up-close, real-life and emotional vibe.
First of all, it’s the strong performance of the overall cast. Bateman-Harden (“ Holmes & Watson “) is stunning as the young Frankie who sadly has to deal with pitch-black moments that no one should ever have to go through.
With his affecting, dedicated and brilliant acting, he brings that personal element wonderfully to the big screen. During this film, Zammit didn’t only sit in the directors’ chair but he also appears on screen as the grown-up Frankie.
He continues to do the same that Bateman-Harden did: Giving an immensely touching, devoted and captivating performance. It’s clear that “Homeless Ashes” is a film Zammit totally cares about.
We might think that homeless people are drugs abuser or alcohol addicts, but Zammit wants to prove that we’re wrong about that. He gets help from two incredibly gifted actors.
With his funny, spectacular and poignant performance, Lew Temple (“ Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”, “ A Boy Called Sailboat “) shows in a moving way that homelessness can happen to anyone, even to a man who had it all: a wife, a daughter, money and a nice house.
Ritchi Edwards (“Blame”, “Witch”) portrays, in a great and moving way, a soldier whose life has been changed by the war forever. The more powerful and touching female emotions come from the wonderful and mesmerizing Dixon (“Adventure Boyz”, “Black Site”) as Frankie’s mom and the delightful and touching May (“Lucid”, “White Colour Black”) as Nicole, the love of Frankie’s life.
This film is visually impeccable. The work of Richard Oakes is extremely impressive and brings out the emotions, loveliness, and delicacy of this film. While he uses many darker shades to heighten the rough and difficult times of homeless people, Oakes also makes sure that there are a lot of colours.
They represent the spark of hope, kindness, and friendships of the homeless people. The lack of special effects and the use of natural settings beautifully create human, ordinary and recognizable vibe.
During the Raindance Film Festival, festival organizer Elliot Grove was very ecstatic to be able to give this film its world premiere. We’re pretty sure that the cast and crew felt the same way.
They made an extremely sad, honest and personal film by telling a social important story in a beautiful, touching and real-life like way. One more reason why you should see “Homeless Ashes”: A part of the profit is used to help homeless people.
Originally published at https://www.ocmoviereviews.com on October 24, 2019.