August 7, 2023

SCREEN | Jon Hamm Finds A 'Corner Office' x WFF 2022

"A smile disarms your opponent."
Jon Hamm Joachim Back | Corner Office
Whistler Film Festival
Filmed in Vancouver, commercial filmmaker Joachim Back directs a moustached Jon Hamm, who also narrates, in the surrealist workplace satire Corner Office, based on the acclaimed Kafkaesque novel The Room by Swedish author/actor Jonas Karlsson. When Hamm's corporate paper pusher Orson finds a secret door to a lavish (possibly magical) room no one else can see, his behaviour starts to go off the rails in the eyes of his colleagues.

Co-starring Danny Pudi and Sarah Gadon as fellow office coworkers, Corner Office features a non-descript, Soviet-style conglomerate environment reminiscent of Severance with exterior shots of SFU's snowy campus atop Burnaby Mountain standing in for the company in the film called "The Authority Inc." Scripted by Ted Kupper, not much actually happens from a plot perspective. We follow Orson's point of view as he constantly remarks on his general disdain for his office surroundings and the people around him.

Hamm trades his trademark Don Draper confidence for an off-kilter performance in the dark comedy mirroring the deranged standoffishness his character treats most of his cubicle mates. Corner Office tries to cement a pervasively anonymous sense of faceless corporate dread without quite enough sharpness to its satire or surrealism.

FYI—I actually went to journalism school with co-star Allison Riley (see here). Corner Office screened at the 2022 Whistler Film Festival. It's available through digital and video on demand.

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