A Home at the End of the World Michael Mayer

Adapting a film from the work of an author such as Michael Cunningham would be a challenging task. Two years back, screenwriter David Hare and director Stephen Daldry managed to do so with The Hours. Despite the complex material (and criticisms from many that it was not possible to adapt), The Hours succeeded in retaining many of the thematic qualities that made the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel so acclaimed. So, how come when Cunningham himself adapted his earlier novel, A Home At The End of the World, the end result was so much less engaging? Recently released on DVD, A Home At The End of the World tells the story of two life-long friends, Bobby (Colin Farrell, playing way against type) and Jonathan (newcomer Dallas Roberts), who meet up once again in '80s NYC. Except things have changed from their late '60s childhood. Jonathan is now openly gay and living with an eccentric gal pal, Clare (an enthusiastic Robin Wright Penn). Bobby (who is apparently straight, though there is slight suggestion, much less so than the book, that he is bisexual) shakes things up by becoming romantically linked with Clare, completing a triangle of deep, emotional relationships. Though there is much to admire about Home, it could have been so much more. While Michael Mayer (an acclaimed theatre director making his feature film debut) seems to work well with the actors, getting wonderful performances out of all them (especially Sissy Spacek as Johnathan's suburban mother), he fails in allowing the depth and complexity of the novel to shine through. The film ends up feeling a lot like a well-polished made-for-television movie. Cunningham himself is also to blame and should probably let other screenwriters adapt his work from now on. And though the film seems fit to watch on television, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the DVD is the lack of deleted scenes. Many are aware of Colin Farrell's infamously cut nudie scene, which is nowhere to be found on the disc. Maybe its inclusion would have added a little excitement to an otherwise disappointing DVD. Plus: featurette, theatrical trailer. (Warner)