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Iris can best be described as a wallflower. She begins her first day as a temp for the nondescript Global Credit Association by waiting in a chair for two hours. This sets the scene for her (mis)adventures with the other "corporate orphans", Margaret, Paula and Jane. Led by Margaret, they find subtle ways to lessen the ennui of corporate oppression. The tension escalates when the new permanent hire, Cleo, enters the picture. Written by
Vanessa Exum <email@example.com>
When Iris and Margaret are at Margaret's apartment, Iris is holding a small ashtray and Margaret says she got it from a hotel. In the next shot Iris holding what appears to be a small dish of food, or even a microwave dinner platter. See more »
I suppose the viewers who label Clockwatchers "boring" simply don't understand that dramas are MEANT to be slower than your garden-variety Indiana Jones or Die Hard. These "action" flicks are ten-times as dull as the corporate setting for this astonishing study on class, friendship, and inner-awareness. Or maybe it is the female perspective or "chick-flick" factor that turn certain people off. Or maybe temporary status in modern American business isn't relevant to everyone. Or the subtle, less gimmicky observations of reality.
Clockwatchers is all of these things at once. Toni Collette plays the ultra-shy newcomer to Global Credit, the ultimate transnational corporation, who slowly comes to realize that the doomed bond she makes with three other temps is an extremely sacred event in her life. Iris slowly gains confidence through such comradery and at one point she doesn't want to leave, even though her father has higher career expectations for his daughter. Iris comes full circle at the end of the film, confronts one of her many bosses whom plot against her, and atones for not standing with Parker Posey, who is the life of the party as Margaret.
The creators of this film are SO incredibly accurate in revealing what worklife is actually like (the boredom, sharing someone else's space, not knowing someone's name or them not knowing yours), that I felt almost honored to know I wasn't alone. (Movies that are this honest about despair are never depressing.) This is combined by the subtle observations of Iris, which I suppose aren't as exciting as blowing someone's head off or toilet humor, but intriguing nonetheless. It is finally layered with political analysis as the female temps organize a strike.
Suffice it to say, Clockwatchers covers a lot of ground, but the layers are folded well together in a way that makes you care about what happens to these characters and their station in life. A must-see sleeper for those who prefer (for example) Merchant & Ivory over Van Damme & Seagal. 9 out of 10.
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