Dir; Kitty Green. Starring; Julia Garner, Matthew Macfayden, Makenzie Leigh. R. Color. 97 min.
Rarely is it possible for a good piece of art, no matter the medium, to be explained within one adjective. “The Assistant” is a rare exception. To describe this film is very simple; ‘Meticulous’. Every detail is calculated and each frame took far longer to set up than one would think. The minute details and background elements are so well put together that “The Assistant” sneaks up on you in a way that is both unique as well as unexpected.
Julia Garner stars as Jane, the proverbial assistant to an unseen film producer at an up and coming film production firm. Glimpses of stars such as Patrick Wilson showing up in the New York office are a typical afternoon for Jane. Male chauvinism is rampant as Jane works with two unnamed male assistants played by Jon Orsini and Noah Robbins. Both are bumbling imbeciles with power because they are men. What they actually do in the office? Grand question.
The audience is given a brief one day-ish look into the life of Jane. She works at what appears on the surface to be a plush New York lifestyle that most would think to be the perfect job full of luxury. Turns out the book does not always match the cover. Jane begins to sense what she should have seen from the start. She is trapped and must decide whether to accept her situation or fight back in the small way that she is able to.
Simplicity is what “The Assistant” is all about. Rarely does the camera move. Instead, Cinematographer Michael Latham and Director Kitty Green create a cold, calculated atmosphere visually that matches what Jane is going through. Everything is focused on framing and what you can discover in the background rather than forcing you to look at what the filmmakers want you to. Bursts of acting such as when the main character tries to oust her boss and gets shot down mirror the tonal themes visually. It is a very effective way to make a low budget film without losing an underlining level of tension.
Overall a slow burn, “The Assistant” will have you under its spell before you realize how much time has past, which is exactly what it is going for. Plenty of themes concerning sexual, workplace and humanistic harrassment are in play. But ultimately this is an observation on the idea of paranoia. If you allow it to seep in, “The Assistant” will question one’s concept of proper co-worker ethic and ultimately sexual dynamics in the real world.
Suck Factor: 1out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!