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I expected Kornbluth. I got Butthead.
My local paper, The Dallas Morning News, gave this film a rating of "F." Although yesterday was Labor Day holiday, there were only three other patrons in the theater when I went to see this awful film. Guess everyone read the paper.
The film was not as bad as I expected, or rather, as bad as the Dallas Morning News would have me believe. The plot was predictable to those who read 'The Marching Morons," but the trademark Judge satire made it a worthy successor. Dialog was solid, with occasional peaks of smirking or outright tittering. Production values (cinematography, sound) were definitely not on a par with such masterpieces as "My Super Ex Girlfriend" but that fault lies with inadequate funding, not poor planning.
Now that I've had a day to think about it, I feel fortunate to be one of the very few to see this film in theatrical release. I predict that, like Office Space, this project will fade quickly, reappear in the bargain bin at The Movie Trading Company and quickly become a (pardon me for using this phrase) cult classic. It's got a lot going for it.
Was great, up until the end.
Pneumatic technology was in its infancy at the turn of the last century, the director of this minor masterpiece anticipated the fundamental shift in perception that would occur 20 years later with the introduction of higher-speed impellers that eventually replaced piston-drive tools. However, the thrust of this film dealt not with technology but with the protagonists--and ultimately mankind's--reliance upon and inevitable disappointment with pneumatic gimmickry as a substitute for the mother figure and, in the case of the jackhammer, the father figure. Of course, the imagery of iron-hard, unyielding rivets being pounded into dark holes is unmistakably Freudian, but perhaps the author of this film was leaning more towards Jung when he posited the collective rivet consciousness in the unforgettable dolly-shot of the thousands of rivets that comprised our hero's finished work on Span 19 West.
Too bad our riveter fell off the bridge at the exciting climax of this film, but the story dictated this action, a symbol of man's inhumanity to rivets and, finally, the rivets' revenge.