Words Wal Reid
“The Assistant is a hard watch to maintain. If you thought Level 4 lockdown was difficult, then be prepared to meet your match”
Australian born film maker Kitty Green’s ‘fly on the wall’ film, revolves around central protagonist Jane (Julia Garner) a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer. She’s just landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul – yep, smacks of “50 Shades of Weinstein” here, however, that’s where the comparison ends and the drama unfolds.
While Jane goes about her daily routine, the camera scrutinises her every move, whim and emotion. Green’s keen camera-eye leans into the tropes of both Documentary & Drama genres. For the most part this works, but by the end of the film it leaves you empty pining more.
Ozark’s Julia Garner is sublime as the potty-mouthed Ruth Langmore opposite Drug Boss Jason Bateman. Here she is not given much of a template to work with, the canvas restrictive and dialogue is kept to a minimum, all which seem to suit the mandate of Green’s film.
Jane’s day is much like any other assistant – making coffee, ordering lunch, arranging travel accommodations and taking phone messages. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the abuse that imbues every aspect of her workday.
Garner’s character is emotionally perturbed as she balances her conscience against the typical degradations happening in the work place. Bullying, sexual coercion, sexism, emotional abuse etc.. How that plays on the viewer’s own moral ethics is left open at the end of the film to maybe pontificate.
The Assistant is a hard watch to maintain. If you thought Level 4 lockdown was difficult, then be prepared to meet your match – the movie could probably do with some assistance in that regard.