Monday, May 20, 2024

Corner Office movie review & film summary (2023)

Orson (Jon Hamm) is the newest employee at the cheekily-named The Authority. He’s a typical benumbed office cog with a muted brown suit and flat disposition to boot. Working in the offices of The Authority, he encounters gossipy, unfriendly coworkers and a droning boss. He doesn’t mind as long as he sticks to his schedule and completes his tasks. His cyclical respite, which manifests in scheduled breaks during the day, involve leaving the communal cubicle area and taking time to think in the corner office that he discovers across from the elevator. 

In contrast to the white, fluorescent, geometric, design of the group’s workspace, the corner office is a mid-century modern dream. Where the main space is a poster of sterility (down to hospital-blue shoe covers worn by the employees to protect the floor), stunning wood-paneled walls, a large executive desk, and a perfectly curated record collection bathe the corner office in warmth and invitation. Not only does Orson find the room to be an ideal space to recharge, but he comes to find that he can only excel at his job when working within its walls. However, this habitation creates a hostile work environment once he is confronted by his coworkers about the fact that the room he frequents does not exist. 

“Corner Office” nails its intended energy. The dystopian visual tone is apparent throughout. With The Authority’s office building being an isolated brutalist high rise set off a snowed-in parking lot filled with identical cars, it’s clear that the film is built on the feeling of stark neutrality. This coldness is an accessory to that of the script, which largely consists of voiceovers of Orson’s inner dialogue. These voiceovers also serve as the core of the film’s comedic chops. 

Orson is marked by his detachment and rigidity, but also his arrogance. Much of this social distance is intentional, as he simply has no interest in his coworkers, but there is also plenty of evidence to suggest that Orson does not understand people. His inner dialogue is delivered exceptionally by Hamm, with dry monotony and unempathetic social observations and notes on the status quo reminiscent of “American Psycho.” However, these voiceovers quickly devolve from being the film’s comedic center to its crutch. 

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HomeReviewsCorner Office movie review & film summary (2023)

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