Broken Ceiling


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Broken Ceiling
"It's Kendrick who really shines."

It's one of those fascinating questions in criminology: women, by and large, are under more emotional stress, so why don't we see them going postal anything like as often as men do? Why don't they lose it? Why don't they kill their co-workers? The prevailing theory is that they're trained from birth to set aside their desires and endure. Angela (Karan Kendrick) has had it with that. Though she may or may not be feeling murderous, she's ready to take drastic action.

We begin with another character, Tyler (Rane Jameson), who is similarly angry about being passed over for promotion. The difference is that he's been with the company for two years. She's been there for ten. He gets angry and demonstrative, pulling a poorly thought out stunt during a crucial business meeting in an attempt to humiliate self-important boss Ken (Regen Wilson). She bides her time. But when the moment comes, she makes sure they listen.

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A 90 minute film set in a business meeting may not sound like the most exciting prospect, and it doesn't surprise in that regard. Writer/director Adam Davis, who has a background in film franchise partnerships, is writing about what he knows, an approach that frequently carries this kind of risk. Considering that it's his first feature film and was shot in just four days, however, it could have been a lot worse.

The main problem is the script. Its twists are obvious, its pacing poor, its scenario development not very convincing - all typical first feature problems. It contains several lengthy monologues, which are a challenge even for experienced writers, and the language from which they are constructed sounds less and less natural as they develop. Balancing this, however, is good work from the actors. That's rare in a low budget, hastily made film, so all the more impressive.

Wilson does a good job of balancing charm and obnoxiousness as the big boss, but it's Kendrick who really shines. She gives emotional weight to even the most laboured stretches of dialogue. Though much of what she has to do is deliver exposition, and her character's tale is not an unusual one, she delivers it with finesse. Her presence is magnetic. It's a star turn that elevates the whole film and promises to give it lasting audience appeal should her career take off the way it deserves to.

This may be a black woman's story written by a white man, but Davis doesn't acquit himself too badly on that score, and meaty roles for black women are always to be welcomed. Kendrick makes it her own. The result is an uneven film that sometimes makes one feel all too keenly as if one were sitting through a boring meeting oneself, but that sometimes, at its best, commands one's attention.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2018
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Broken Ceiling packshot
After being passed over for promotion yet again, a woman takes drastic action.

Director: Adam Davis

Writer: Adam Davis

Starring: Karan Kendrick, Regen Wilson, Rane Jameson, Adam Davis, Jay Disney, Jaime Gallagher

Year: 2018

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: US


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