1.014Made on an extremely modest sized budget, it’s somewhat unfair to point the finger at some of the more meagre, technical shortcomings in Steve Rainbow’s N.F.A. (No Fixed Abode). Yes the lighting is below standard, as is the sound, but that often comes with the territory of making a film for so little money. Therefore the one way to truly analyse this production is within the story, and fortunately for the debutant filmmaker, it remains compelling throughout.

Though Adam (Patrick Baladi) goes to sleep one night with a beautiful wife by his side and an adoring daughter in the other room, he awakes to find himself alone, isolated and lonely at a hostel for the homeless, with no prior recognition of how he got there. With so many questions to be answered, Adam sets off to discover how he ended up without a home, and what he must do in order to get back to how things used to be.

Given the lack of funds, Rainbow is seemingly aware of his constraints, producing a film that may not look particularly impressive, but remains full of ambiguity, that will keep the viewer intrigued as you piece together what is happening to our beleaguered protagonist, through a limited range of flashbacks we get exposed to. It’s almost impossible to not feel entranced by this narrative and determined to discover what will come of Adam, in an enticing, hypothetical scenario that provokes much thought and contemplation. The film lags somewhat during the middle stages however, but improves as we proceed towards the climatic finale, as tensions mount as we know the big reveal is just moments away. Films such as this are so reliant on their ending, and though this isn’t particularly astounding, it’s handled refreshingly well and isn’t just dramatic for the sake of being dramatic.

For a film that is only a mere 70 minutes long, there are an awful amount of time-filling shots of Adam wondering around aimlessly. God forbid what the deleted scenes must be like. You can’t help but get the impression that Rainbow came up with this initial premise and then an ending to match, but wasn’t quite sure of what to put in between. That said, No Fixed Abode remains an interesting, somewhat classic character study. He’s a man who appears to have it all, and takes life for granted somewhat, and it takes for him to lose everything to appreciate what he once had. Meanwhile, Baladi shines in the lead role, carrying the film well, in spite of some of the less memorable supporting roles. He’s not renowned as a leading actor as such, but does a more than worthy job in this instance, provoking much empathy from the audience, despite us knowing so little about him.

No Fixed Abode bears a fascinating concept, but that doesn’t necessarily make for a great story, and though the idea is certainly in place, Rainbow hasn’t quite got the execution to match. Though it does bear unwanted similarities to a student project, with very low standard production value, you still can’t help but admire Rainbow for simply giving it a shot, and hopefully young filmmakers will feel encouraged to follow suit and do just that.