The film “Bureaucracy,” I dare say, has much in common with Chizfilm.
It’s the kind of movie that, despite its extremely low budget, many people pour their heart and soul and love into; yet the final product somehow seems to lack that slick, professional Hollywood-style production quality and, as a result, will never get a theatrical distribution and will never be seen by a mass audience. Similarly, my own Chizfilm website is an intense labor of love but lacks that professional touch which brings in extensive readership. And so because of this, my heart goes out to “Bureaucracy.”
The movie is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit (and will hopefully soon secure a deal for release on DVD); last night it had its east coast premiere at the University of Virginia in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA. I was privileged to meet the film’s producer, Andrew Perreault, himself a graduate of the university; he told me some interesting stories about the making of the film, which was done on an amazing budget of only $5000. His brother, Mark Perreault, who wrote and directed the movie, should be extremely proud of what he managed to accomplish with so little money.
They say you get what you pay for, and yea, in a few of the scenes that seems to be the case; but overall, as I have said in the past about a few other low-budget films such as “The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah” and “Right at Your Door,” well-applied talent and creativity can be an excellent substitute for a big budget.
“Bureaucracy” is a comic noir, if I can coin a term for a new genre. It tells the story of Roger Van Gundy (Jack Robinson) who works as a clerk at some faceless corporation. He has been exploited and lied to by his boss, Mr. MacMurray (David Simon) for far too long, and he finally reaches the breaking point. He sets out to murder Mr. MacMurray with a package bomb.
This premise may not sound like a comedy, but trust me, it is. There are some hilarious scenes, particularly as Roger nervously buys the parts for the bomb at a hardware store, mails the package at the post office, and then tries to follow its delivery as various innocent people get in the way.
The story’s a bit simplistic, but it’s cute and fun. This is particularly true regarding two charming subplots: one about a coworker (Kaitlyn Black) who wants to date Roger, and another that deals with his blind sister whom he constantly takes to the zoo.
The acting is a mixed bag—a few of the scenes felt as though they hadn’t been rehearsed well enough before being shot, and some of the minor characters, such as two detectives who come in toward the end, just weren’t believable. And yet, I really didn’t mind. It’s the kind of film where you can sense how much the cast and crew really care about it, so that the faults don’t matter.
Thematically, “Bureaucracy” has much in common with Woody Allen’s masterpiece “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” although the latter is far more sophisticated. But I did like some of the comments “Bureaucracy” made about the use of red tape and how it can hide things to help protect you.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable film and I wish the best of luck to the next project of Proactive Pictures, the small production company founded by the Perraeult brothers, which made this film. What they were able to do with only $5000 was quite impressive and shows much promise. They currently have two films in pre-production; I have much hope for them.
Too bad I can’t say the same for Chizfilm.