Combustible Celluloid
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With: Christian Slater, Elisha Cuthbert, William H. Macy, Sascha Knopf, Jamison Jones, Lisa Arianna, Greg Baker, Michael DeLuise, Tina D'Marco, John Gulager, Stanley C. Hall, Nicole Hawkyard, Cristina Lawson, Brian Lohmann, Randolph Mantooth, Cyndi Marinangel, Courtney Moorehead, K.C. Ramsey, Paul D. Roberts, Bill Rothbard, Michelle Tolan, Livia Trevino, Jason Trost, Jim Tyndall, Maggie Wagner, David Wells, Sewell Whitney
Written by: Frank A. Cappello
Directed by: Frank A. Cappello
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95
Date: 03/11/2007

He Was a Quiet Man (2007)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Office Limits

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

I've always liked Christian Slater, and it has been painful to see him suffer through so many bad movies lately (Who Is Cletis Tout?, The Deal, Alone in the Dark, etc.). So watching this "comeback" performance was a real pleasure. Unfortunately, the film has gone straight to DVD following a few film festival dates; it deserves a lot more. Frank A. Cappello (a writer on Constantine) wrote and directed the film as a kind of surrealistic comedy, with horror undertones as well as some romantic drama. Bob Maconel (Slater) works as a drone in an office cubicle, goes home, drinks apple juice and talks to his fish (and they talk back). He keeps a gun in his drawer and fantasizes about shooting his co-workers or perhaps blowing up the building. But one day a man in the next cubicle beats him to the punch, shooting several employees, including the beautiful Vanessa (Elisha Cuthbert). Bob unloads his gun into the maniac and becomes a hero rather than the martyr he planned on being. Vanessa survives her shooting, but is paralyzed from the neck down; Bob begins caring for her and they become lovers. He gets moved to the top floor and begins working directly for the big boss (William H. Macy). Of course, it's a classic "waiting for the other shoe to drop" scenario, but Cappello keeps things slightly off-kilter and constantly builds expectations. Effective, cartoonish effects and bizarre visuals -- like the colored paper snowflakes that decorate Bob's office -- test reality and keep us on our toes. Slater really sells Bob's tormented inner soul in a very appealing way; he has slightly protruding teeth, off-color skin, stringy, thinning hair and a bit of a paunch, but he feels like a real person inside his insane world. The film's ending takes a bit of a nosedive, but before then it had me completely in its clutches. Sascha Knopf plays the office bombshell who flirts with the newly-heroic Bob.

DVD Details: Anchor Bay released the movie on DVD for January of 2008. It comes with a director's commentary track, a making-of featurette, deleted/alternate scenes and a trailer.

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