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Visioneers: Ayn Rand Meets Office Space

July 28, 2009

Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation, “the largest and friendliest corporation in the history of mankind.”  Enter George, played with muted desperation by Zach Galifianakis. His office is on level 3 of the Jeffers building.  We know this because it is painted across the wall from floor to ceiling.  “Jeffers morning,” George says to first arrival and fellow Tunt, Todd, as he flips him his middle finger.”  Todd returns the greeting, sits at his desk, pulls out a pistol, places it to his temple, and pulls the trigger.  George winces, and then goes about his business.  

Cindy arrives next. Exchanging middle finger salutes with George and Todd, she sits at her empty desk, frantically rearranging office supplies.  A display screen centered above George’s desk is on constant scroll.  A voice intrudes from an ancient speaker, “There are 1200 minutes of productivity before the weekend.”  The phone on George’s desk rings.  It is Charisma from Level 4.  “Mike won’t be in today,” she tells George.  “He exploded.”  George hangs up the phone.  “There are 1159 minutes of productivity before the weekend,” the computerized voice announces. 

This is Jared Drake’s vision of corporate America as presented in his first feature film, Visioneers.  Written by his brother, Brandon, Visioneers presents a bleak look at a future that has come under the control of one powerful corporation.  Divided into levels, the employees of the Jeffers Corporation are placed based on the results of personality tests; inside the offices, misery and despair rule.  Society is undergoing an epidemic of spontaneous combustions, and there is a war raging to subvert the individual’s dreams.  “Dreams cause instability and pain,” George’s doctor tells him.  “In our world, dreams are never real.” 

To the outsider, George appears to have all a man could want, a large house, a beautiful wife, a teenage son, and a nice sized boat. But the reality is much closer to real life Americana.  On his way home from work, the radio plays, “If you wanna have fun and not blow to pieces, eat fried chicken, fried chicken is delicious.”  Once home, we meet his family.  His wife, Michelle, sits hypnotized in front of the television watching self help, Oprah like guru Sahra peddle the book 10,000 Things to be Happy About.  His son, Howard, is locked in his upstairs bedroom, unresponsive.  In bed, Michelle longs for a sexual relationship with George, but obsessed with his own misery and fear of explosion, he is unable to “get it up.” 

And so Visioneers presents a dark, brooding study of the self and its battle against the collective masses.  It is Ayn Rand meets Office Space set in a world where one massive corporation has the power to subvert the will of an entire nation.  George suffers in tortured silence, going through his daily routines, wondering where his life has gone and lacking the courage to make a change.  

Like Tony Krantz’s Sublime, Visioneers presents a middle class white American struggling against the confines of his place in life.  The themes and observations within Visioneers are right on point, haunting in their proximity to today’s world where marriage is struggling for survival and self help books dominate the best seller lists, but the execution is bland and it seems to take forever to reach its conclusion. Ultimately, the movie moves too slowly and drives home its point with a square mallet instead of a fine scalpel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 17, 2010 12:43 pm

    some office supplies are low quality that is why you should always check your store if they offer high quality products ,`.

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