The Assistant (2020)

Kitty Green directs Julia Garner, Owen Holland and Jon Orsini in this drama where a movie executive’s assistant works her dawn until closing time day trying to ignore all the evidence of his abusive exploitation of the hopefuls who enter his office.

Not just a drab procedural examination of #metoo complicity and hyper-normalisation but just an ever so familiar recreation of the mental and physical exploitation of anyone who has worked a bottom rung job. Julia Garner delivers a tightly wound lead performance and watching her try not to crumble in the moment where she attempts to take action is truly affecting. As well structured, immersive and non-sensational as this often is, it is still a button pushing, calling card debut and its deliberateness sometimes errs on the side amateurishness. While clearly trying to tell a similar tale from the less told angle, it does miss out on the bad behaviour transgressive pleasures that Mamet, LaBute, Solondz or Swimming With Sharks delivered when they sardonically visited the power imbalance of a bullying work environment. Admirable, just not very entertaining.

6

Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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