N.F.A (No Fixed Abode)
Director Steve Rainbow’s debut feature N.F.A strives to introduce audiences to the disorientating, harsh and frightening world of the homeless, as told through the eyes of bewildered protagonist Adam Smith (Patrick Baladi, The Office). Adam lives a cushy middle-class life, with a happy family and a blossoming career in real estate – until he wakes up in a homeless hostel with no idea how he arrived there and no sign of his wife or young daughter.
N.F.A gets off to a thoroughly shaky start, with some wooden acting and stilted dialogue from the offset. We are introduced to Adam’s family on the eve of his birthday, a narrative move that is undoubtedly meant to emphasise his beautiful life. However, the family dynamic is awkward and unbelievable. Young Ava Baladi is clearly rather excited about her big role, and both her real-life father Patrick Baladi and his on-screen wife Saskia Butler struggle to improvise with her enthusiasm. Meanwhile, Baladi and Butler’s interactions with each other as a married couple are vague and unfamiliar.
The film picks up somewhat with a spark of intrigue as Adam resolves to piece together the puzzle of his sudden homelessness. This is certainly an interesting concept, and one that is somewhat reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s excellent 2000 film Memento. Apart from offering a certain suspenseful entertainment, the story forces audiences to consider their attitudes towards homelessness and mental health.
But positive discourse aside, the narrative is quite simply poorly executed. Most of the interior scenes look as though they are shot within the same outdated B&B, and the film has the aesthetic quality of twelve-year-old’s class project. There are several plot holes and goofs, the most bizarre being the large sign taped to the door of the homeless shelter that reads: “Residents Parking Only”. The movie is laden with an awkward supporting cast, but is somewhat redeemed by its leading man. Baladi is charming and watchable enough to evoke the all-important sympathy and thought from an audience despite a muddled plot and otherwise poor acting.
Baladi’s touching portrayal of a man who has lost everything (without even realising it) may be reason enough for some to give N.F.A a chance – but unfortunately many filmgoers won’t find much else on offer.
N.F.A (No Fixed Abode) is released nationwide on 29th November 2013.
Watch the trailer for N.F.A (No Fixed Abode) here: