LAS VEGAS -- 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 is causing 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 sufficiently charmed those attending CineVegas, where it took home 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 ultra-sterile, corporate lockdown that is Jeffers Corp., the largest firm in the history of mankind, where worker bee Winsterhammerman 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 neatly accentuated by a whimsical score courtesy of Polyphonic Spree frontman Tim DeLaughter.
Production: Fireside Film in association with Mayfly Films and The Syndicate & Purple Sage Pictures. Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Judy Greer, Mia Maestro, James LeGros, Missi Pyle. Director: Jared Drake. Screenwriter: Brandon Drake. Producers: Jory Weitz, James Henney, Henry Capanna. Executive producers: Kurt Dalton, Henry Lowenfels. Director of photography: Dino Parks. Production designer: Thomas William Hallbauer. Music: Tim DeLaughter. Editor: Justine Halliday. Sales Agent: Mayfly Films