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A Jeffers salute to all of you! Visioneers opens with a stale, lifeless
office environment on the 3rd level of the Jeffers corporation, which
is the "friendliest and most profitable corporation" ever. The story
follow George Washington Winsterhammerman (Zach G.) as he floats
through his day-to-day life without any real passion, all the while
trying to avoid "exploding," which the world around him continually
claims to be able to prevent by following various self-help books,
buying the latest gadget or toy, and staying productive; basically, not
truly living in any real sense. None of this stuff truly works for
George; he has dreams, but he is afraid to follow them, because he is
lead to believe that if he does he will definitely explode.
The almost-too-subtle tone and style of the film can be hard to interpret at times, especially if you're trying too hard to understand it, but I believe it suits the film well and allows for a truly contemplative cinematic experience. I don't believe the film carries any one particular agenda, although it takes several shots at America and capitalism in general, there are also a couple of scenes that show the "hippie" response to that way of life and how it is also flawed in many ways. There are so many underlying themes and messages about life at the heart of this film that it is impossible to list them all here, and I don't know if I even could, because I probably missed a few of them the first couple of times I watched it. Turn the negative, cynical and egotistical part of your brain off before you sit down to watch Visioneers and you will truly appreciate the message of the film. Yes, it has a few flaws here and there, and may also seem preachy and pretentious at times, but that could very well have been intentional; meant to convey the message of the film in a different way.
It wrestles with what it truly means to be alive! I won't spoil the conclusion for anyone, because if you truly grasp it while watching it, there is so much more to be had from it. Go ahead and make some popcorn, grab a soda and your loved one (or a buddy) and really dive into this film. It may just change your life.
If you made a movie about the abuses of a meat packing industry and
your audience was the owners of several meat packing firms, you
wouldn't get good reviews. That mostly explains the unusually low score
for this movie. Its not likely to bring glee to the eyes of those that
usually adorn the walls of the local multiplex.
The film is pretty good satire. Its satire not only comes from the situation, but the foreboding mood that lurks throughout the film. It takes on multiple dysfunctions in American life. These would include corporations, Oprah Winfrey, Junk Food, Televangelists, Suburban Households, Materialism, etc.
The film does this all pretty well. There are some occasional flat notes; this would include Zach Galifianakis going into overly long star offs. Most of the staring he does is within bounds, but sometimes he crosses the line. Some of the satire was lacking any subtlety; I'm thinking of the life coach who tries to cure Zach.
Many people have compared this to Brazil, its a fair comparison. In terms of quality, this movie is light years away from Brazil; that is very important however. The one plot point that greatly diverges with Brazil is the ending. I liked the ending to this and thought it fit very well with the rest of the movie. If it ended another way, the film may have come off to much as a wet rag.
I just saw this at SIFF tonight, and I must say that I'm very impressed. For a first time director, this film is very well done. It's both funny and original, which is rare to find. I'm a big fan of dystopic future stories, and to see something like this executed so well on a (relatively) small budget is very inspiring. The themes of the movie, such as unhappiness, stress, and the death of dreams are all very relatable. Zach Galifianakis does quite well. I love him as a stand up comedian and goofy comedy actor, but was admittedly skeptical about his role in this. However, he did an amazing job, playing the character, rather than playing his comedy persona. The movie does have quirky and odd elements that may turn some people off, but for many others, those things make it all the better. I highly recommend this movie. Please go see and support it so that we can get more movies like this in the future!
Trailers are strange beasts that often hugely misrepresent the tone of
a film. I'm not sure if I enjoy the mischievous manipulation involved,
or hate the mistrust that it generates. A little of both, I guess.
Visioneers is one such example: the trailer comes across as a fairly light-hearted, quirky romantic comedy.
In reality, however, this film deserves to sit beside 1984 and Blade Runner as dark and disturbing visions of dystopian futures. While it starts out with the uncomfortable humor you'd expect from a Zach Galifianakis film, the atmosphere of oppression builds over the course of the movie to become almost unbearable. This film makes Requiem for a Dream seem like an episode of 'friends'. The central character, George, lives robotically both in his dull office job and at home in a loveless marriage. The world around him is full of deadpan absurdities, a parody of drab offices and mid life crises, with an undercurrent of hopelessness that rings a little too true to sit comfortably.
The way the theme of dreams is turned into a literal threat is done with obvious self-awareness, but it comes across like a bad cinematic pun. Its more carefully constructed distortions of reality are where it really shines, with its vapid self-help infomercials, eccentric mentor figures, and the mega-corporation as a cult. And the way George seems to communicate through much of the movie semi-telepathically instead of verbally may be strange and unsettling, but also mesmerizing. Thoroughly worth watching.
The Drake Brothers did a great job with this. I read a comment from AFF who said that no one enjoyed it. I'm not sure what film he sat through but everyone i saw enjoyed it immensely. I can see why some people wouldn't get it, and the drake brothers are right when they say that their film is a little weird. I just don't see the problem. It was a well done film that utilized the unsaid better than most films i've seen. The setting is very original in a dystopian society that very much resembels what our own feels like at times in the come down of an acid trip. The film comments on so many things its hard to make a mental list while watching the movie or even afterwards, but i think that would cheapen the premiere experience. I really hope they find a distributor so i can see it again.
Visioneers is a fantastic dark comedy about the monotony of the day to day. It shows how absurd society has become by taking the things that are wrong with it and super sizing them. The humor is very subtle at times, but very good. This is not your average slap stick, one liner comedy. It requires a bit of attention to fully grasp everything that is going on and what this film is trying to say. The cast does a remarkable job of bringing each character to life, so that you can empathize and feel what the characters are feeling. If you take the time to watch this movie, you will not walk away disappointed. Visioneers will leave you pondering deep thoughts and reminiscing about all of the great moments in this masterpiece. A definite must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In Visioneers, filmmakers Brandon and Jared Drake have made an extended
observation on how corporate, materialist existence is emotionally and
spiritually dead without the slightest realization that is one of the
most shallow and oft-repeated clichés of the modern age. They think
they're being all subversive and such but fail to understand that
requires having a point to your argument. As far as I can tell, the
Drakes' only coherent message is that it's great to be the idle rich
and sucks to be just one or the other. Throw in a conviction that
people flipping the bird is way funnier than it is and the casting of
Zach Gallifianakis as an impassive and mostly mute stoic and there's
all the evidence here to indicate the Brothers Drake should pursue
careers in non-cinema related fields. Perhaps running a cell phone
kiosk in a grocery store or selling bicycle tires door-to-door?
George Washington Winsterhammerman (Zach Galifianakis) is a Level 3 employee of the Jeffers Corporation, also known as a Tunt. He sits in a room all day with 2 other Tunts, receives phone calls from his Level 4 superiors and wears multi-lens glasses in order to do his paperwork. George's wife (Judy Greer) is a numbed drone who's preoccupied with the latest route to happiness prescribed by her TV guru (Missi Pyle). George's son never comes out of his room in their McMansion and George's ex-con brother (James LeGros) is enthusiastically taking up pole vaulting in George's massive back yard. The only good things in George's life are his own dreams of being George Washington and the calls from his Level 4 supervisor (Mia Maestro), who speaks to him with shuttered affection and sends him little smiley face notes on his daily assignments. Of course, tens of thousands of people are randomly exploding in George's world and dreams are one of the symptoms of that, so maybe there's only one good thing for him. Aside from the lovely Judy Greer and Mia Maestro, there's nothing all that good here for any viewer.
Visioneers is boring, pretentious twaddle created by two guys who can barely tell the difference between a metaphor and a 2x4. Take the whole "people exploding" bit of the story. Do people explode because they suppress feelings? Do they explode because they express them in an emotionless world? In this movie, sometimes it's one and sometimes it's the other and sometimes it's apparently neither. That kind of confused unclarity is rampant throughout the picture. The Jeffers Corporation is an almost surreal place, yet it exists side-by-side with relatively normal people and places and ways of life. When George's Level 4 superior gets fired, he tracks her down and finds her waiting tables at her father's bookstore café, a place that is so entirely normal that it shouldn't be on the same planet, let alone the same city, as the Jeffers' offices. That dichotomy, however, is hardly acknowledge and never explained or examined. George and everyone else at Jeffers are weird and maladjusted. His Level 4 superior is completely normal. Why? How? Again, those questions are neither asked nor answered.
The bottom line is that Visioneers is nowhere close to being as smart or insightful as Brandon and Jared Drake clearly believed it, and likely themselves, to be. A refusal to be conventionally entertaining is not, in and of itself, a mark of quality. Sometimes it's only a sign of people who aren't talented enough to make an entertaining film.
There are better things to spend your time on than this motion picture. Maybe not selling bicycle tires door-to-door, but something.
Orwellian comedic-drama from director Jared Drake and writer Brandon Drake pares civilization down to a desperately stress-free society filled with self-help gurus and innocuous television shows. Zach Galifianakis, an unhappily married family man who works in Level 3 of a major productivity corporation (where the company logo is the middle finger salute), attempts to avoid combustible stress as it is causing citizens to literally explode. There's no passion left in his marriage, yet the sound of a co-worker's voice on the phone reminds him of a happier time--when love ruled his heart. Nearly-ingenious bit of offbeat satire, infused with deadpan black comedy and Galifianakis' sly performance (he keeps a straight face almost throughout, though there's always a naughty twinkle in his eyes). Some of the situations fall flat, the dialogue is a bit crude, and the film runs too long at 95 minutes (cut the crusts off this material and it may have made for the perfect short). Still, the surge of feeling (and redemption) at the finale is worth waiting for, and the picture has an intriguing look and ambiance that could garner cult status. ** from ****
I thought this movie was brilliant. It captured the mundane monotony of everyday life, while keeping us from getting to depress with a bit of dark humor thrown in. I liked how this movie dove down deeper into the human psyche and the human idea of a dream/goal/purpose. You can note that a majority of people in the movie who stop/prevent exploding, such as the pole vaulting brother, found their happiness and their release in throwing off the chains of modern day life and plunging head first into chasing their dream regardless of how ridiculous it may be. Meanwhile the rest of humanity continues to look for distractions/purpose/meaning in a world that seems meaningless. This movie reminded me quite a bit of "Brazil" and I can easily see this movie becoming a classic much like "Brazil" has become. Once again, a great film!
I don't get it. I just read the reviews here on IMDb and can't imagine
these are people who actually watched the movie who are not friends of
This movie was absolutely terrible, imo. I just got out of the screening at Austin Film Festival and the crowd walking out seemed to agree with me, that this was NOT good.
The whole thing feels like a short story that goes on forever. I can't even begin to say what's wrong with it, as nothing is right. The lead character is not likable...he barely speaks. The wife is extremely unlikable as are most characters in the story. The brother is a little funny, but the whole "Garp-like" idea of the backyard being a messiah for happy people is a serious stretch and barely explained...the FBI attacks them? WTF?
The office scenes were WAY long. The whole finger idea and the voice announcing the number of minutes left of productivity until the weekend was funny the first two times. By the 20th or 25th time (seriously) we see them, they are NOT FUNNY any more.
Sorry guys. It is the first movie. But I can't stand when bad films get a lot of hype.
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