Tuesday, 10 February 2009


HOW many people wake up in the morning and hope that half of their work force is dead?

Of course, I don’t, but this is the concept behind Frank Capello’s deranged black comedy about an office worker who is pushed too far by the corporate snobs who run his place of work.

Christian Slater plays Bob Maconel - a bored and schizophrenic office worker who takes a gun to work only to discover another fellow colleague has beaten him to it.

Instead of joining him, Bob turns his gun on the shooter and becomes the unlikely office hero, even managing to save the shot office totty Venessa (Elisa Cuthbert) in the process.

But is life at the top any better than at the bottom as Bob struggles to cope with his newfound fame, looking after the now paraplegic Cuthbert and coping with the delusional prospect that he may have to finish the job his predecessor started.

This is a truly independent picture, shot on a shoestring, but with a cast and script which is worth much more.

In fact, one of the films authentic qualities is its frequent change in mood - switching from raw comedy to heartfelt drama faster than one of Slater’s speeding bullets.

Much of this is down to Capello’s writing and direction.

Capello’s camerawork is dreamy and crisp, floating through office lifts and colourful corridors, but with a dreaded sense, that, at any time, madness could persist.

Even some of Capello’s characters feel artificial, caricature-like and detached from reality. Whether this is deliberate, it certainly works, pushing the emotionally-charged Bob closer to the edge.

And all this from the same writer of Hulk Hogan’s Suburban Commando!

But it would be unfair not to pay homage to Slater - who brings nerdy Bob, accompanied with granddaddy glasses, a fake wig and rotten teeth, to life.

Scenes between Slater and Cuthbert are both deeply tragic and comedy gold. But it is Slater's constant battle with his mind in the form of an animated talking goldfish, which is the real screen stealer of the film.

This is Fight Club with a fish. The Truman Show meets American Psycho. This is an edgy, raw and wonderfully worded piece of comedy drama, well worthy of cult status. Rent it now!

Rating: * * * * *

He Was A Quiet Man is now available on DVD.

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