Written and directed by Robbie Walsh, the film follows Adam (Johnny Elliott), he’s found himself unemployed and homeless, struggling to get through each day and explores the variety of experiences he encounters with people on the street. Also starring: Sarah Carroll and Kellie Blaise.
Tackling the issue of homelessness is a difficult and commendable task, it affects an inordinate number of people and yet, is rarely touched upon in a way that isn’t purely in the background. However, it’s also a choice that comes with a host of issues that can prevent it from being a moving and poignant story, unfortunately Eden stumbles across a lot of those difficulties. Its opening is very slow and what begins as contemplative then wanders more into the realm of excessive, the time could have been used in a more effective way to set up the film and give more context to the lead character’s story.
Sadly, those issues continue throughout, it lacks energy to move forward, it makes the point of Adam’s isolation and mistreatment but struggles to go further, dragging its heels in the process. A story such as this, is one you expect to be grim and gritty but instead of doing so in a way that’s heart-breaking and affecting, it becomes uncomfortable and while that discomfort can be useful in some cases, here it doesn’t have the depth to hit that note.
There are very brief flashes to Adam’s previous life, sporadically throughout the film but they’re quite generic and give us little idea of the specifics to his situation, it was a shame to not be able to delve a little further into his life. That detail isn’t necessarily needed to feel sympathy for Adam, the circumstances were beyond his control and he got dealt a bad hand but the problem is that Adam doesn’t have a sympathetic personality, and without more of a backstory before his circumstances filled him with resentment and caused him to become so abrasive, that sympathy really struggles to come through. While again, it’s perfectly understandable how events have changed his outlook and opinion of people, it really needs more context to make it work, otherwise for the most part, he just comes across angry and hostile without having other levels to him.
It’s very clear the message of compassion and understanding that the film is trying to send but it simply hits the same note repeatedly and lacks a more definitive aim to the story, which cuts off its potential impact. Then when there is an attempt to open up Adam slightly in his interaction with other people, it’s less convincing, a little insincere and again misses the opportunity for impact.
What Eden is trying to do is extremely admirable, people need to be reminded to be more empathetic, generous and understanding, and while it’s very obvious that’s what the film is attempting, it can’t manage to build an emotional depth to give it the effect it needs. It’s very slow to get going and doesn’t end on a satisfying note, there was room to go further but it purely walks the same path for 70-minutes.