A well-timed, rather unobtrusive drama considers a young woman as an underling to an autocratic, wolfish New York-based motion-picture mogul.
The Assistant will have discerning cineastes drawing comparisons to what’s going during the court testimony against a debilitated, as well as disgraced, Harvey Weinstein.
Director Kitty Green uses ambiguity and minimalism (without revealing who would likely be Weinstein) to indict a presumably fairly recent corporate culture and complicity within it that does leave an icy pallor over the proceedings.
But, to manifest the quotidian thought the eponymous entry-level Jane (Julia Garner, fulfilling mostly an enabling figure) is an experience that isn’t about depth of character or emotional texturing in being primarily at an office over an endless day even well before sunrise.
Jane’s task include making coffee, preparing hardcopies of the latest box-office receipts, others include gathering lost jewelry left behind not to mention a little scrubbing of the ‘casting couch’. She isa sounding board for the boss’s weary wife while sending him an apologetic e-mail after being reprimanded.
The feeling of an unshackling as in the mainstream Bombshell isn’t forthcoming in a laissez-fair environment that unspools with unsentimental rectitude. One can sense what may be rattling in Jane’s conscience even as the personable, diligent cog confronts a human resources officer, a sanctimoniously candid Mathew Macfayden of Anna Karenina and Pride & Prejudice.
How practically figures into Jane’s aspirations, understanding the likely outcome, can be frustrating given how she primes a green applicant arrives off a bus from Idaho in pandering (i.e., doing her job) to the employer. Given the way Jane acts around a fitful persona and character constraints it’s to Gamer’s credit how empathy and disparaging really aren’t part of the relevant equation set up by Green
The Assistant is coldly played out enough to continue the conversation in simmering fashion through future, more exploratory, if dynamic examples.