Working Man at first seems to be yet another David and Goliath fable. Corporate America closes the last factory in a Midwest town and the employees rise up in protest. But, without warning, the ambling plot suddenly veers off-course. An unsuspecting audience is kidnapped and the story is turned on its head. Uncomplicated people become mysterious and the simple intrigues. It’s an original and most appealing tale.
Allery Parkes (Peter Gerety) lives with his devoted wife, Iola (Talia Shire) in a small town in the heart of the Rust Belt. He’s worked in the local factory his entire life and is blind-sided when he’s made redundant. He tries to find another job, but it’s futile and he quietly slips into crisis mode. The next day, he goes back to work at the abandoned factory. His wife is horrified and his neighbors are intrigued. Like Allery, they too lost their jobs and now have nothing more interesting to do than monitor their eccentric neighbor.
One neighbor in particular, Walter Brewer (Billy Brown), takes more than a passing interest in Allery’s behavior. Walter follows him to the factory and discovers he’s cleaning defunct equipment, inch by inch. Walter joins Allery on his daily trips and the two form an unlikely alliance; the monosyllabic grafter and the charismatic adventurer.
Had it been left to Allery, he would have shuffled along in obscurity for the rest of his life, but Walter has much bigger ideas. He decides that the factory can be revived and he and Allery are just the ones to do it.
This film starts at a very slow pace. So slow, in fact, that it risks losing its appeal before the story has begun. The writer also lacks confidence in his ability to tell his tale and resorts to flashbacks. This exacerbates the tardiness and drags the audience away from characters they’ve only just met. Neither of these points are fatal but this tapestry doesn’t need glaring lights to patch it together. Willing characters will do that themselves.
It becomes exciting when the plot spirals out of control. Characters are hurtled in a direction we know they don’t want to go. They cling desperately to the past as they get swept into the maelstrom of burgeoning truths. The more they struggle the more complex they become. They’re scarred and vulnerable and eternally afraid. Just like the rest of us. It’s this battle with the truth that is at the very heart of the drama.
Once the David and Goliath myth is dispensed with, it’s impossible to know how this story will end. But when that end finally comes, it brings with it another truth. This time, it’s for the audience, who will be as reluctant to accept it as the characters they just met. It tells them that, however much they’re done with your past, their past might not be done with them.
Distributed by Brainstorm Media
STREAMING ON AMAZON and iTUNES
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