18 September 2002 | Poseidon-3
Short and Sour View of Office Politics.
This tight, intense little film has been rarely seen in recent years (although the original teleplay on which it is based was a huge hit.) It's impact has been dulled slightly (mostly because it's ideas have been stolen for other countless TV shows and movies), but it's basic story is still as relevant as ever. Heflin is a small town plant manager whose company has been swallowed up by Sloane's conglomerate. Sloane moves him up to the executive level of the conglomerate and sets him up with a beautiful home, a fancy office and a top secretary. Soon, however, Heflin realizes that his promotion may have more to do with leverage against one of Sloane's adversaries, his vice president, Begley. Straight is Heflin's materialistic wife who urges him to succeed no matter what the moral cost. Wilson is Begley's secretary who finds herself torn between personal loyalty and company loyalty. The film is a curt 83 minutes and wisely unpadded with excess subplots. The acting is uniformly strong. Heflin is able to display a wide range of emotion. Begley, often cast as overbearing boors, is able to show a more vulnerable side. Sloane is the one who almost goes over the top. He shouts wildly at the drop of a hat and doesn't allow anyone to finish a sentence. One hopes that his type of management wouldn't be tolerated in today's world, but it very well may be. Wilson comes across very solidly in one of her better screen roles. She's given many quiet moments that display her internal struggle. (She would later put a comedic spin on the whole office thing with her wondrous turn in "9 to 5".) Straight is good, but isn't really a focal point of the story. The film has a dim view of corporate America and the unsettling feelings in the office begin right away. Though the times have changed, this story still holds value today and is an arresting work to watch.