“Just so you know, I’m a mess.”
Part of the 2005 USA Film Festival)
The Works is a great film by Gal Katzir. The press junket says it’s partly Office Space and Brazil. To be sure, that’s two great films to be compared against. But that comparison comes up short. Not only is Works more quiet and pensive, it’s confident in its own pacing.
Victor hates his dead end job working for MCore. He’s tried to quit, but absurdly the brass won’t let him. They, led by Armin Shimerman (Deep Space Nine), have him on some sort of technicality. But things begin to look up for Victor when the building’s plumber, Eve, shows up to fix its diseased pipes.
Thing is, this cancer is too far gone. What’s eating at the plumping is of course what’s eating at the characters: apathy, dissatisfaction, isolation, loneliness, hurt. Perhaps even a little anger. Left untreated, something’s gotta give.
How exactly that plays out is a priceless little jewel that I don’t dare reveal. It’s not a huge secret, but it’s a fanciful bit of movie magic. I was reminded by the Monty Python bit in The Meaning of Life where the office workers sail around in their office high-rise as if it were a ship full of pirates. It’s that kind of absurd office parody which also works as modern metaphor that I loved about Works. And Works goes one big step further in offering some poignant introspection.
For instance, there’s a really sweet moment between Victor and Eve, who’s been
somewhat aloof to his interest. Eventually, she tells him bluntly before they embark on a deeper relationship, “Just so you know, I’m a mess.” It was a succinct little sentence that communicated much. It was her way of apologizing to him up front for the neuroses he was about to become very familiar with.
Yet with his eyes, Victor was telling her that he did not care about her supposed issues, and also that he too was human. He has his own baggage that he would be bringing with him, chief of which was his unhappiness with MCore.
And central to their friendship is the lively Mr. M, owner of MCore. He’s a Howard Hughes analog, minus the stark raving lunacy. He’s more of a grandfatherly eccentric. In his own way, like Eve and Victor, Mr. M is a mess too. He’s misunderstood but he no longer cares enough to apologize up front for what might look like madness. Unashamed, he pursues his dream. Surely Victor and Eve will be inspired by Mr. M’s passion and move forward themselves.
The Works is a great little film.