FilmReview

Film Review: All Sorts – Raindance Film Festival 2021

 Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer and Director: J. Rick Castañeda

The IT Crowd meets Fight Club in this quirky comedy from director J. Rick Castañeda playing at this year’s Raindance Film Festival. The secret filing competitions are a joy to behold, but the romance between two disgruntled employees is less inspiring.

Set in a world of early desktop computers and where the photocopier is still king, parts of All Sorts are extremely inventive, and Castañeda creates a gloomy claustrophobic office where workers toil away in cubicles. It’s a lonely life for any employee.

With a car for a home, Diego is in desperate need of a job. Looking through the newspapers that line the car windows like curtains, he spies an advert in the situations vacant column looking for a data analyst. Knowing little about data, he doesn’t think he’ll get the job, but when he mentions to the boss that he can type 55 words a minute he’s offered the position on the spot.

How the employees actually analyse the data at Data-Mart is thrillingly unclear and no one appears to do much work anyway. Instead they are caught in their own private hells. One employee receives daily abusive phone calls while June cries on a regular basis. Poor Diego has nothing to do for days because his computer has disappeared. But no one minds.

Only June seems to like her job, especially when it comes to filing where her fingers move as fast as lightning. When Diego, working late for no apparent reason, finds a flier advertising a filing competition he persuades June to take part.

The underground world of the contests, where participants are treated like boxing stars, is as compelling as the secret brawls in Fight Club, or the speakeasies in 1920s America. And this is where the film excels. Castañeda makes magic out of the mundane.

It’s a shame then that a relatively predictable, albeit sweet, romance takes centre stage later on during the film. Eli Vargas’s Diego is all shy and awkward; a familiar character from the world of independent rom coms while Greena Park’s June is nerdy but her secret grief makes her solitary and distant.

Some other secondary storylines are not as funny as the film thinks they are, such as the one in which the boss sacks himself, and overall the film struggles to fill its 90-minute running time. But Castañeda has created his own strange and absurd world where employees can be heroes despite their soul-destroying duties bound to a desk. The filing competition offers a glimpse of freedom from all our nine-to-fives.

All Sorts is screening at the Raindance Film Festival on 7 November and is available via Curzon Home Cinema until 9 November.

The Reviews Hub Score:

Data heroes

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