Monday, 21 February 2011

Best office film?

As I sit on the outer fringe of this cube farm, waiting for my boss to exit a meeting so that I can start working on the next job, I find myself wondering what the best film about office life is.

The obvious answer would be Mike Judge's excellent Office Space. The film which gave us Milton and his red stapler, this is a depressingly bleak and truthful look at all that is soulless about working for The Man, but within that bleakness, it manages to mine a surprising depth of humour and humanity.

However, there are other contenders. Glengarry Glen Ross, for one. In Pacino, Spacey, Lemmon, Harris and a rarely brilliant Alec Baldwin, we witness a phenomenal cast carving lumps out of each other with dialogue only David Mamet could dream up ("What's my name?" etc). The film is a sideways glance at how the 80's "killer" attitude to making deals didn't pan out for everyone as lucratively or glamourously as it did for, say, Bud Fox or that bloke who snorts coke off a prostitute's breasts in Robocop. Glengarry also manages to use its theatrical origins to its advantage, in that the limited scope of the settings (we seldom leave the confines of the office) push us further into the nightmarish, inescapable gloom of the lives played out within.

Perhaps the ultimate office epic is the inimitable Brazil. I have only ever watched this in chunks, however, and most often an altered state of mind, so I won't be offering any opinions, except to say that all films set in an office should culminate in a massive sword fight. Or was that my imagination?

Secretary. Ahem.

Being John Malkovich introduced Charlie Kaufman to the wider world, and remains his most bonkers film, thanks in no small part to John Malkovich's brilliant sending up of his own screen persona. Had Michael Stipe taken the role as originally intended, the film would have been shit.

The Hudsucker Proxy. If only offices really were how the Coen Brothers make them out to be. What fun.

Thoughts? Any contenders I've missed?

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