Office Space (1999)

Office Space (1999)

A prophetic anti-work film that arguably heralded the “quiet quitting” age

7.3

Movie

United States of America
English
Comedy, Drama
1999
MIKE JUDGE
Ajay Naidu, Alexandra Wentworth, Ali Wentworth
90 min

What it's about

A depressed white-collar worker tries hypnotherapy, only to find himself in a perpetual state of devil-may-care bliss that prompts him to start living by his own rules, and hatch a hapless attempt to embezzle money from his soul-killing employers.

The take

Before “burnout,” “bullshit jobs,” and “quiet quitting” became part of our everyday lexicon, there was a film in the ‘90s that prophesied the rise of these workplace problems. Office Space follows three co-workers who, having had enough of their dreary low-paying jobs, fight back against their company via an embezzlement scheme. 

Office Space makes the most out of its indie budget as it mostly takes place in the cramped quarters of a company, effectively bottling us into the cubicled windowless world of the characters. But the real beauty of the film is in the details, from its quick zingers and thoughtful takes on the essence of work down to its elaborate “planning to plan” scheme in the background and the employees’ forced politeness singing happy birthday to their boss. Modern viewers will notice that Office Space sits right in between the dystopian thriller Severance and the beloved sitcom The Office—a dark comedy that highlights the necessity of humanity in everyday work. 

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