Sunday, February 14, 2010

He Was A Quiet Man (2007)

Provacative, pitch-black DTV comedy about a repressed office worker and his unsatiable craving to massacre his workplace, bolstered by a fantastically nebbish Christian Slater in the lead. He spends his cubicle-dwelling days planning the demise of those who berate and trivialize him every day, staring at his revolver while assigning a bullet for each person. He's just about to carry out his actions when another lowly office employee takes the initiative and plugs a roomful of people, and when Slater realizes his office crush took a slug in the back, he "saves the day" and offs the other nutjob, looking like a hero. He gets a promotion, newfound respect, and the companionship of a wounded office worker who feels in his debt. But his psychotic tendencies, manifested by fish that he hallucinates feeding him orders, live on to cause him stress and alienation, building towards a breaking point Slater knows is coming and cannot avoid. The hopelessness of Slater's character, and the actor's willingness to make the character a completely unromantic nutcase (unlike some of his previous characters) make this film worth watching. When he begins his rags to riches story, and the love story element seems to seep in uninvited, the film could easily become a cliched, trite indie mess, but you know that Slater's character is still quite off his rocker, and could ruin it all in a heartbeat. His sweaty, high-strung to the point of paralysis performance, along with a wonderfully smarmy one by William H. Macy as his new, higher-up boss, keep the film from settling in to long and making you comfortable; you know this guy well enough to know he's capable of terrible things, and it'll be an uphill struggle to see him get to a neutral zone in his life where he can be content with what he has.

Recommended for fans of black office comedies or Christian Slater. This one had nowhere to go but DTV; it is too dark, twitchy, and depressing for most audiences, even those for darker comedies a la Office Space. But hopefully the presence of stars Slater, Macy, and Elisha Cuthbert will keep this relatively watched in years to come.

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