Friday, August 18, 2023


Joachim Back's directorial debut is a dark comedy that satirises the pre-pandemic office worker hell that is the open-plan floorplate staffed with irritating coworkers in cubicles.  Adapted from Swedish novelist Jonas Karlsson’s The Room, the movie has a low-key dystopian vibe with a deadpan voiceover from Mad Men's John Hamm, playing our protagonist Orson. Dressed as a schlubby middle-aged secret Machiavel, Orson holds his colleagues in contempt while treating them with a scrupulously minimum-required-amount of politeness.  "I just wanna do my job" he protests. "What do you think we're doing?", Danny Pudi's colleague responds. "I can't say with any certainty."  The condescension is cathartic for the viewer.  Orson's work-life is transformed when he discovers a secret office that is luxurious in its furnishings, but most of all in its silence and distance from other humans. Orson schemes to take possession of it, a task made all the harder by the fact that his colleagues won't acknowledge its existence. Others might be destroyed by this Kafkaesque denial of his truth, but Orson prevails. Is his thick-skin, and belief in the room, psychopathic? Or is he the last bastion of common sense in an insane world? 

I loved everything about this film - the acting, cinematography, production design, dry with - other than its length. It feels like it might have been better made as an hour-long episode of Black Mirror. The conceit is just too dry for a feature length movie. 

CORNER OFFICE has a running time of 101 minutes and is rated PG-13. It played Tribeca and Raindance 2023 and opened in the USA earlier this month.

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