What Is It? is a bewildering, unnerving, surreal, blackly comic film from the visionary mind of Crispin Glover that tells the inner and outer struggles of a young man facing villains and demons on multiple planes.
Invisible aliens in a tiny flying saucer come to Earth looking for heroin. They land on top of a New York apartment inhabited by a drug dealer and her female, androgynous, bisexual ... See full summary »
Paula E. Sheppard,
At a public records office, a seemingly normal boss has hired a new employee named Bartleby. Bartleby however, is eccentric and with each passing day, he begins to refuse his boss' orders which only gets worse. Eventually, the boss finds himself clueless as to what to do about Bartleby as he discovers even stranger things about him.Written by
I never heard of this movie until couple of weeks ago when I saw it on TV. This brings my question - where do all the good, "small", independent movies go after they've been created and screened on the Sundance Film Festival? How do we learn about their existence? Where do we read about them? And most importantly, where can we see them?
Bartleby, the first film directed and written by Jonathan Parker is a real gem - modern version of the Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener" with absolutely amazing cast.
Crispin Glover plays Bartleby, the man who was hired, but preferred not to work and who was fired, but preferred not to leave. David Paymer is his clueless boss who tries to understand what he is dealing with. Glenne Headly is Vivian, an office secretary, the woman of many adorable talents; Maury Chaykin, and Joe Piscopo are his coworkers in the one of the most boring office ever existed. The office is located in the building that sits on the top of the hill and comes directly from the El Greco's painting "View of Toledo" with its atmosphere of mystery, danger, and loneliness: Would you like to work in the building like that? I'd prefer not to...
I believe Parker made a very impressive debut - the film is creatively shot, the use of music is amazing - Beethoven's sonata turns into a creepy, quirky and moody Bartleby's theme for which Parker used theremin - very interesting and unique musical instrument. Parker and his co -writer transported 'Bartleby the Scrivener' into a surreal and absurd black comedy - satire on bureaucracy and alienation in the insane and cruel modern world.
Franz Kafka's name came to my mind more than once while watching the film - he would've loved that absurd, funny but dark and sad story. Also, if ever a good movie is made about one of the greatest and tragic writers of 20th Century, Crispin Glover should play him. Just compare their pictures...
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