Clockwatchers Movie Review

List of great unsolved mysteries in the universe at the present time. Number one: Who/What created it. Number two: All other questions associated with creation. Number three: What inspires people to create?

The creation instinct tends to be downplayed in relationship to the other two. Perhaps this is because of the fact that the creation instinct has very little impact upon the modern world. It really, unless you happen to be a curious person or a psychoanalyst, doesn't concern you why a writer wants to write, a painter wants to paint, etc. However, even the writers and painters often do not have much of a clue where their ideas come from. However, when one sees a movie like Clockwatchers, the question that hits your mind is "why would anyone wish to do a movie about stealing office supplies?"

Stealing office supplies may have been a crime we have pretty much all engaged in at some point in our lives. It may have been an event that made our workday a little more interesting. It is not, however, what one would think about as cannon fodder for the plot of an hour-and-a-half long movie. Yet it works surprisingly well.

The success of Clockwatchers in having a vignette-esque nature and being about nothing more than stealing office supplies leads me to believe that we may see a whole new slew of art-house films about the office space. Think of the opportunity. We could have one about the guy who replaces the water cooler finding out that there is a plot to drain the water every time he turns his back. We could also have another about files being deleted from the computer system.

On second thought, I think Clockwatchers has taken the intra-office genre as far as it can currently go.

Clockwatchers focuses on four temps. We have a temp poet-philosopher Iris (Toni Collette). We have the office subversive Margaret (Parker Posey). We have a temp aspiring-actress Paula (Lisa Kudrow). Finishing up the list we have a temp aspiring-housewife Jane (Alanna Ubach). These four go through the motions of doing nothing. Iris, serving as both witness and narrator to the odd sequence of events that follows, wishes for something more to happen.

Be careful what you wish for, Iris.

As office supplies start disappearing, the atmosphere of the office turns from watching the clock to watching the workers. The administration becomes completely Orwelian. As the office workers begin to suspect each other, the entire façade of friendless disintegrates into a realm of paranoia.

You are probably thinking. All of this from office supplies?

If you are thinking that, then skip the movie. Its only audience is the art-house viewer who can appreciate both the trademark Parker Posey wit and a movie that has about twenty times more intelligence than pace. If that didn't cross your mind, than go ahead and rent it.

The problem inherent in the title Clockwatchers is that it leaves itself open for the attack that I will now make. At the points where the movie drills home how utterly boring life in the office is, Clockwatchers makes you watch the clock. Its pace is so slow that it has to ride completely on its intellectual side, which falters through the first half.

Yet to call this movie downright bad discounts the great deal of wisdom and surreal poetry that it possesses. Because of this intelligence, the end result is more good than bad. It just makes you pose the four most pondered question in the universe: why make good movies so damn slow?

Tick tock.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :


Clockwatchers Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG-13, 1998


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