Trancendential Film - Haiku Tunnel
Office Space for the hipster scene, Haiku Tunnel combines a light-hearted look at those poor saps operating on the bottom of the corperate food chain– the temps and the secretaries.
The semi-autobiographical film focuses on Josh Kornbluth’s experiences as a temp in the world of litigation. Josh is a damn fine temp, too good in fact. His most recent employer wants him to sign on full time as a “perm.” To break him in, the boss gives him a simple task: copy and mail 17 letters. Then the fun begins.
The strength of this film lies in the secondary characters that are so over the top and hilarious that they have to be based on real people. One of the best characters is Josh’s boss, the all-business attorney who is a partner in the firm, the evil Bob Shelby. His deadpan delivery and aloof behavior yields consistent jokes, not to mention the most quotable lines in the film. Another great character is the effeminate mecritary Clifford, who revels over the upper management staff who ruined his weekend and helps Josh seduce a security guard with back issues of Field and Stream.
These things sound too absurd to be true, but the Kornbluth brothers’ story is so well-written that the audience believes it. The script obviously comes from years of experience in the thankless world of office work; it is light-hearted enough to be funny, but has just enough truth in it to make it seem real.
Still, it’s not all smiles throughout. The heart of Haiku Tunnel is a story of a man struggling with his inability to commit, a topic that will ring true with most any college student. Josh’s self-sabotage both uproariously funny and heartbreaking at every turn, to the point where you are rooting for the guy to just get his stuff together and make a smart decision, even if its only once.
The film is obviously an amateur work from two brothers who don’t have the most experience in the film world. Thankfully, the Kornbluth boys are able to assemble a solid cast of no-name actors who won’t be lighting up the big screen anytime soon, but have enough talent to work in the ensemble. The film’s only recognizable face is Spinal Tap alumnus and Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer, who provides a cameo as the training officer at Josh’s new job.
The self-deprecating charm and existential crisis of Haiku Tunnel makes for excellent watching for those about to start their real lives. Not as bitter as Office Space, not as heavy as Adaptation and as quirky and funny as either film, Haiku Tunnel is a great film for a laugh or a little self-reflection.
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