Think Dilbert with a body count and you have He Was A Quiet Man, a creepy comedy about an office drone whose vendetta against his colleagues takes a surreal turn. Yes, that is Christian Slater as the bespectacled anti-hero with the combover from hell. Yet while Frank A Cappello's picture never quite lives up to the audacity of its opening, its satirical sidewipes at corporate culture will surely strike a chord with anyone who's ever had to work for a living.
From behind the walls of his cramped cubicle, Bob Maconel (Slater) plots his revenge against the world. A disgruntled loner who fantasises about blowing up his office building, he spends the hours of 9 to 5 nursing the gun he dreams of using to kill his bullying superiors and oblivious co-workers. When one of the latter beats him to it, Bob cuts him down and becomes an instant celebrity. However, as much as he enjoys being promoted by his grateful boss (William H Macy), he can't help feeling partly responsible for the shooting spree that turned pretty secretary Vanessa (24's Elisha Cuthbert) into an embittered paraplegic.
Combining the mordant observations of The Office with the twisted romance of Boxing Helena, this macabre farce is an acquired taste, whose fantastical flourishes (Bob's talking goldfish, for example) and toilet humour merely heighten the unsettling perversity of the whole. It's certainly a departure for Slater, who gives one of his strongest performances to date in a role that could hardly be further removed from his usual cocksure persona.
He Was A Quiet Man is out in the UK on 7th December 2007.