The Assistant by Kitty Green [5/10]

The Assistant” should amount to more than it does. Writer/director Kitty Green has devised a smart, oblique peek into the #MeToo world of New York film and television. Julia Garner is stunningly successful in depicting (with few words but great visual aplomb) a single day of a junior assistant (five weeks into the job!) slaving away in the office of a horrific mogul we never see, just hear indistinctly behind a closed door. A strong feature of the film is the beautifully filmed, close-up corporate office world with its banality and hidden dramas (trust me, it rings true). The seemingly never-ending sequences of office-domestic duties carried out by the assistant, all the while increasingly realizing what abuses and ravages are being perpetrated by the Weinstein-modelled person behind the door (we never see him, another deliberate filmic choice), are clearly intended to reek of a Kafka novel, but something in the pacing or atmosphere or framing sucks all the horror out of the buildup. Only a brief foray into the office of a human resources manager (played with panache by Matthew Macfadyen) offers any narrative drive; frankly, boredom sets in readily. Overall, “The Assistant” amounts to an intriguing drama that misfires.

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