Although this carries a release date of 2009, it looks and sounds like it was shot earlier, a fact reflected by the early to mid-2000's slang and phraseology in the dialog. If I'm right, it may be one of the first mumblecore movies, predating all of them except FUNNY HA HA.
And yet the mumblecore rubric doesn't entirely fit. There's a callousness to the humor reminiscent of the East German "Lustigetote" (humorous deaths) musicals of the 60's made just after the erection of the Wall, indicating to me at least a sociopathy on the part of the director. Although he's assembled an impressive cast, its oppressive atmosphere of institutional insanity brings to mind MARAT/SADE, but with a subversion more cultural than political. Like Springsteen's masterful "Jack of All Trades" this movie's litany of crimes against Michael eventually threatens to overwhelm the viewer unless resolved by violence--of the spiritual kind. I credit director Connolly's no-nonsense directing for this, but I wouldn't necessarily stand in front of him on a subway platform when there's a train approaching.
In short, if the Nazis had made mumblecore movies, they would have looked like this.
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