Quick question: How are you feeling? Generally “fine”? Not having a “slow-burn, paralyzing anxiety attack”? Well allow me to radically shift your reality, thanks to the first trailer for upcoming indie thriller The Assistant. The film, from first-time narrative writer/director Kitty Green (the documentary Casting JonBenet), promises to get right the hell under your skin — especially if you’ve worked any desk job.
Julia Garner (Ozark) plays Jane, a young woman who operates under the unfortunately naive position that in our late-capitalist corporate space, hard work yields fair results. Instead, as she finds in the painstakingly real-time narrative, hard work yields all kinds of outrages, small and increasingly big. Does her male boss deliver inscrutable, impossible instructions? Yup. Do her male coworkers belittle their female colleagues and laugh at her foibles? Yup. Is she literally used as a coat rack by less qualified people? Yup. And maybe — just maybe — will she uncover some kind of brushed under the rug conspiracy while checking the company’s books? Boy howdy, if your heart rate isn’t increasing just by reading vague descriptions of this thing, you might already be dead. If you’re into particularly slow-building, existential, procedurally-bent thrillers like Side Effects or Zodiac, or real-time indie suspense flicks like Searching or Grand Piano, The Assistant is going scratch a very satisfying itch for you.
The Assistant comes to theatres January 31, 2020, courtesy of Bleecker Street. We’ll have more thoughts on the film later, but for now, here’s the first look at the disquieting psychological thriller.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“The Assistant” follows one day in the life of Jane (Julia Garner), a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who has recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant’s – making coffee, changing the paper in the copy machine, ordering lunch, arranging travel, taking phone messages, onboarding a new hire. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she, and we, grow increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colors every aspect of her work day, an accumulation of degradations against which Jane decides to take a stand, only to discover the true depth of the system into which she has entered.