Film Review: Office

By Tatiana Ho

Office, a comedy and unexpected musical by director Johnnie To, attempts to speak on the American Loan crisis and its effect on the Chinese Market. The movie doesn’t stray from the quirkiness of it’s situation, creating an unbelievable office setting with high-tech and robot like workers who tend to have random outbursts of song . The spontaneity of the Office film aims to make the musical outburst seen eerily natural without any smooth transition into musical numbers that is seen in American Musicals. The comedy speaks on a higher matter within the corporate world, that the “office” is a setting of enslavement for hopefuls until they are disappointed. Making light of the capitalist world, Office presents a strong opinion on business employees without the aggressive tone.

Said to be a cross between “Mad Men” and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, Johnnie To gives viewers a unique film from all the common musical settings. While attempting to make the musical pass as a ‘modern film’, the office is a brightly lit building with hundreds of workers all resembling each other. The two new hires, Xiang Le (Yi Zi) and Kat (Lang Yueting), are thrown into the midst of the corporate world with little to no direction. Although their backgrounds are completely different, it shows how the pair still ends up with the same job and how they are both hopeful to make it to the top within the business.

The dramatic comedy musical is set in the busy world of the city life, showing how the business world is impersonal to the person but is also used as a way to create relationships. The irony of Office is made so blatantly that it shocks it’s viewers into realizing its ultimate message. It questions a person’s loyalty to their fellow coworkers versus their loyalty to the brand and getting ahead. Unlike most musicals, Office is used to serve as an instrument to talk about touchy concepts and every day realities for the middle class.

See the trailer here:

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