'Visioneers'

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In the gently absurdist "Visioneers," comedian-actor Zach Galifianakis plays the mild-mannered George Washington Winsterhammerman, a corporate drone whose methodical, by-the-book existence is rudely interrupted when a bizarre epidemic causes growing numbers of people to explode.

An assured first feature by siblings Jared (director) and Brandon (writer) Drake, the quirky satire wears its influences on its dystopian sleeve, but an amiable cast and some surprising poignancy add up to Orwell that ends well.

The results charmed those attending CineVegas, where it took the Audience Award for best drama, which should help in its deserving bid to snag a distribution deal.

There's also a touch of Mike Judge's "Office Space" in the ultrasterile corporate lockdown that is Jeffers Corp., the largest firm in the history of mankind, where worker bee George dutifully punches the clock as a Level 3 TUNT.

But when he begins having dreams (one of the early symptoms of impending explosion), George begins to question the highly regimented, supposedly contented life as he's known it.

With Galifianakis' nicely modulated performance setting the agreeable tone, the rest of the cast follows suit, especially Judy Greer as his distracted, self-help-fanatic wife and James LeGros as his free-spirited, pole-vaulting kid brother.

Shot in the Seattle area, the production moves along at a genial pace, with those idiosyncratic undertones accentuated by a whimsical score from Polyphonic Spree frontman Tim DeLaughter. (partialdiff)
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