Sunday, May 31, 2020

Movie with Abe: Working Man


Working Man
Directed by Robert Jury
Released March 27, 2020

People work for a living, to bring home money to provide for their families and themselves. Many would be happy to spend all their time relaxing if they had sufficient funds to live comfortably and not work regularly. There are those, however, for whom the act of going to work and punching a clock is absolutely crucial to their daily routine and mental stability, and who feel lost when, after many years of steady employment, that’s suddenly no longer there. Even if that comes at a natural point when retirement should occur, life just isn’t the same anymore, and adjustment to a new normal is extremely difficult.

Allery (Peter Gerety) goes in to his last day of work when his factory is closed, staying well past the half day everyone else works so that he can put in his usual hours. The next morning, he gets up, makes his lunch, and walks over to the empty factory, managing to enter the building and return to his station. He repeats this process each day, buying his own supplies to keep the machines and grounds clean, until he is discovered by his former employer. His neighbor and coworker Walter (Billy Brown) sees something in him and sets out to help him continue this off-book activity, much to the chagrin of Allery’s wife, Iola (Talia Shire), who can’t seem to get her husband to communicate what he’s feeling.

This film is about having a sense of purpose, something that extends to most of the residents of the Rust Belt town where Allery lives. Only he acts on it because he’s lost any taste for socializing, saying few words since the tragic death of his adult son. Others notice Allery and wonder whether he’s forgotten that his job no longer exists or that no one’s paying him to be there, failing to see that going to work and doing what he’s always done is what defines him. Walter, a recent transplant to the town where almost everyone has lived their entire lives, sees a dedication he admires in Allery, and Iola just wants her husband to know that they could have the chance to be happy together, if he just expressed that he wanted that.

Gerety is a veteran actor who is known most recently for his television roles in “Sneaky Pete” and “Ray Donovan.” Here, he displays a reserved, solitary attitude, one that comes through most strongly when he’s at work focused on his task, stopping and restarting work precisely on schedule. Brown, a familiar face from “How to Get Away with Murder,” and Shire, the Oscar-nominated star of films like “Rocky” and “The Godfather Part II,” complement his performance nicely as the two people who strive to understand him best. This is a simple, quiet film with an effective original score by David Gonzalez that drives its story. As many find themselves unexpectedly out of work or, at the very least, no longer going into work, this film’s impending DVD release and availability on streaming outlets makes it feel even more relevant and poignant.

B+

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