He Was a Quiet Man

on November 30, 2007 by Amy Nicholson

Timid office shooter Bob Maconel (Christian Slater) has his pistol loaded and his targets picked out. The only thing he's missing is the guts to reclaim his manhood from the daily snips to his ego from his domineering supervisor (Jamison Jones) and femme fatale coworker (Sascha Knopf) that have left him, as he calls it, castrated. He's even out-alphaed by co-star William H. Macy and his chastising pet goldfish, who may or may not be a sign of schizophrenia. (They are near doppelgangers with matching myopia, baldness and a constant feeling of being trapped under surveillance.) Yet before he can pull his trigger, another gunman (David Wells) beats him to the draw and Bob is hailed as a hero, even though he knows the only reason he's alive is because the murderer thought he was too pitiful to kill.

With its dreamlike flourishes and unrelenting despair, Frank A. Cappello's pitch-black dramedy feels distinctive even if it recalls bits from Falling Down, Office Space (Slater's channeling Milton in his downtrodden drag) and even Boxing Helena as Bob becomes the caretaker of the paralyzed, once-backstabbing office hottie (Elisha Cuthbert) only to become paranoid that the only reason she's offering to blow him is because no one else will have her. (Their first and only love scene, however, is movingly intimate.)

Cappello can set a mood; after torturing his characters, however, he's just not sure what to do with them. But while the ending feels like a powerful cheat, at the least you'll walk away determined to save that extra donut for the office recluse.

Distributor: Mitropoulos
Cast: Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert and William H Macy
Director/Screenwriter: Frank A. Cappello
Producers: Michael Leahy
Genre: Dramatic comedy
Rating: Unrated
Running time: 90 min.
Release date: November 30, 2007

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