Thursday, November 15, 2012
PRICE CHECK, the comedy-drama of workplace politics and preoccupations written (with an eye toward the inevitable compromises we make on our rise to success) and directed (quite competently) by sophomore full-lengther Michael Walker. That title, for instance: Fast, smart and to the point, it's a phrase we often use while trolling the aisles of our local supermarket. It has another, deeper meaning, too, which you'll probably roll around a bit in your mind once this surprising yet oddly quiet movie concludes.
Chasing Sleep, has cast this one (with the help of Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee and Allison Estrin) quite well, bringing together a lively, believable group of actors that make up an excellent ensemble, with three of these most prominent.
Parker Posey, above, who has hung on that title better and longer (pace Brit Marling) than many of us would have imagined possible, has the lead role and offers one of her best performances as the extraordinarily driven, not-quite-young woman who is given the job of turning an unprofitable supermarket located in the Long Island hinterlands into a winner. Ms Posey is -- as usual -- in your face, funny, smart and real.
Eric Mabius, an actor who gets better as he gets older. Mabius has an unusual ability to look and act like an everyman, while holding back just enough to remain both mysterious and sexy without appearing to push either quality in the least.
Annie Parisse (above, right) as the Mabius character's wife. Thanks to the combo of her fine performance and Walker's excellent screenplay and dialog, she, too, come across as multi-dimensional and dauntingly real. Everyone here, full of good points and not-so-good ones, acts at some point as both hero and villain. Mostly though, they -- as do the rest of the ensemble of characters -- just want to get ahead and somehow live a comfortable life. Like most of us in the 99 per cent.
Edward Herrmann and Cheyenne Jackson (above, center), both doing their usual fine job. The film is timely, all right, coming as it does in the midst of our continuing economic crisis, and its look at the workplace, below, seems nicely on-target, quirky yet real. But Price Check is also a quietly thoughtful movie about the unfortunate necessity for compromise (about so many things) -- and what this does to our lives and to those closest to us.
IFC Films, has been playing via VOD for the past month and will open theatrically in a limited release tomorrow, Friday, November 16, here in New York City at the IFC Center, and next Friday, November 23, at the Laemmle NoHo 7 in the Los Angeles area.