Secret Mall Apartment Documentary Review: A Quirky Dive into DIY Urban Living

In the realm of unconventional solutions to the housing crisis, the Secret Mall Apartment shines as a testament to creative ingenuity, albeit with some narrative caveats.

Directed by Jeremy Workman and backed by Jesse Eisenberg’s executive production, the documentary delves into the intriguing tale of a group of Providence-based artists who clandestinely inhabited a hidden alcove within their local mall for four years. This covert dwelling, repurposed from a symbol of gentrification into a communal space, serves as the focal point of the film’s exploration into DIY artistry.

The narrative unfolds around Michael Townsend and his friends’ spontaneous decision to test the limits of urban living by settling in this obscure enclave. What initially began as a whimsical experiment evolved into a long-term residency, challenging conventional notions of home and community.

Amidst grainy footage capturing their makeshift lifestyle, the documentary offers glimpses into the socio-economic backdrop of Providence Place Mall, a structure emblematic of urban revitalization efforts but perceived by many as a divisive entity within the city.

However, the film’s narrative trajectory falters when it diverges from the central premise of the mall abode. Excessive focus on Townsend’s personal righteousness and tangential segments detract from the documentary’s core essence, diluting its impact.

Moreover, the absence of full-time residency and the portrayal of the space as more of a clubhouse than a genuine living quarter inject a sense of superficiality into the narrative.

Nevertheless, the documentary’s reflective turn towards the end, marked by a surreal reconstruction of the apartment and Townsend’s moment of discovery, adds depth to the storytelling, prompting critical introspection into the motives underlying their unconventional lifestyle.

Secret Mall Apartment” stands as a quirky exploration of urban subversion, offering viewers a glimpse into a world where unconventional spaces morph into homes, blurring the lines between reality and DIY fantasy.

Joanne Wells

Joanne Wells is a media journalist for ScreenNearYou. She reports on the inside conversations in Hollywood. Also, she loves pizza!

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