Diego (Eli Vargas) is the lonely new hire at data management company Data-Mart. What kind of data? It doesn’t matter! But it all needs to be sorted, catalogued, charted and generally dealt with immediately.
It is the office-est of faceless offices to ever office, run by an inept and wild-eyed manager who has no clue what he’s doing. Everyone sticks to their cubicles and performs their roles with varying degrees of basic common sense.
Soon after his arrival, Diego uncovers a secret underground folder filing contest behind the vending machine. Competitors battle it out in a smoke-filled bunker to file with the most speed and accuracy. Frenzied office workers scream from the sidelines, waving their fists and wads of cash. Diego persuades co-worker June (Greena Park) to enter the contest and we get dragged into this shady and absurd underworld of office life, and their growing feelings for each other.
This crowdfunded gem is delightfully funny. With an absurdist sense of humour it pokes fun at the microcosm which is office life. In this world Payday chocolate bars are currency, stationery is toys, and everyone runs rings around the boss like mice coming out to play while the cat is asleep.
“Spreadsheet cells that merge together, stay together.”
Nerdy fans of 90s technology will love the techy throwbacks. There’s cassette tapes, clacky keyboards and an OHP to keep score on. Who remembers fixing the CD drive with a straightened paperclip? If you squint you might see a reference to everyone’s nemesis Clippy in unravelled physical format escaping like a worm across the desk. Even the end credits are wonderfully rendered using what looks like a Windows 95 desktop.
Or if you’re anything like me you will be cackling at the reverence to the art of… organisation (squee!). Any big decision that needs to be made will be laid out on a spreadsheet and the act of filing is practically six-sigma’d to create the most efficient process possible. Yes, this made me happy, don’t judge.
“The sans-serif font craves stability”
While some characters are more silly, the leads are played quite straight. The ridiculous premise of a secret underground filing ring behind the vending machine is broached with such genuine earnestness by our competitors that we take it seriously too. This approach gives us just the right amount of salty and sweet to have us both laughing at, and believing in, the central story.
This sense of imagination and surrealism carries right the way through to the camera work and throwaway props. The use of the photocopier to ‘enhance’ an image taken on an early Nokia was particularly sweet.
“All Sorts” (2021) is heaps of fun, especially for office workers who have ever daydreamed about working life being more interesting. It’s imaginative, charming and absurd, and is a particularly good watch for any enthusiasts of all things orderly and organised.
Hi, I'm Caz. I live in Edinburgh and I watch a lot of films. My reviews focus mainly on women in film - female directors or how women are represented on screen.