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  • Alex First

The Assistant (M) - 87 minutes

Updated: Jun 10

The despicable acts of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein come into sharp focus as The Assistant unfolds.

Jane (Julia Garner) is a young, savvy personal assistant to the chairman of a film studio.

In the job for only five weeks, she completes largely dreary tasks and works long hours.

First in the office before dawn, she is also the last to leave after dark.

The Assistant is but one day in her life.

It is a job she needs. Her ambition is to become a film producer.

But the way she is treated and what she is exposed to are contemptible.

Her dismay, disappointment and sadness are written all over her face.

Inspired by real life stories, The Assistant is Australian documentarian Kitty Green’s first narrative feature (she is writer, director, co-editor and producer), a fictional representation of insidious workplace culture.

In a highly demanding role, Garner is in every scene – with the camera squarely focused on her throughout ... and she nails the part.

Slow moving, you need to stick with The Assistant to get the most out of it.

What Jane hears and sees while in the “bull pit” are what result in the film’s crisis point.

When she tries to do the right thing by “exposing” what is going on behind closed doors, she is quickly put in her place.

Effectively there is a protection racket all around her – from men and women.

It is sickening to observe at close quarters, which is what we – as an audience – do.

The chair is some discombobulated, feared figure who we don’t see, while his junior underling is quite the reverse.

The Assistant is a searing, all too real story about the misuse of power and just how hard it is to swim against the tide ... to stand up for what is right.

It is inevitably going to be a small audience film due to its lack of “action” and concentration on the mundane, but I admire just that – the way the movie makes its unmistakable point.

The Assistant is a call to arms, which has been encapsulated by the #MeToo movement.

It is an indictment of a system that has proliferated and been perpetuated for far too long. It is about abuse and exploitation.

Rated M, it scores a 7½ out of 10.

You can see it now on Foxtel on Demand and it will be available on 24th June, 2020 on Google Play, iTunes, Fetch TV, Telstra Bigpond, Sony Playstation, Microsoft and Quickfix.

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