Quirky up-and-coming comedian Zach Galifianakis
takes the lead of a much lower-radar film pre-"Hangover."
seen June 3 at the 92Y Tribeca, is a thoroughly original film, a
creative blend of “1984” and “Brazil”-inspired dystopia, mixed with
What makes it different though is it has a beating heart underneath its
seemingly anaesthetized world. The film makes pure use of the stand-up
persona of its lead, Zach Galifianakis (see review of his live show at
92Y Tribeca in December), capitalizing on his gift of creating or
increasing the awkwardness of scenes and situations.
But this gets ahead of things. Galifianakis plays George Washington
Winsterhammerman, the oddly named protagonist who has dreams that he is
his namesake, in the middle of a Revolutionary War battle, while
sleepwalking through a lot of the rest of his life, lacking interest in
his pretty wife, whiling away time inoffensively at a low-level job for
a Big Brother-ish corporation that seems to dominate society, having
created a world that resembles what it might be like if everyone was on
medications to all have the same stable, bland mood.
It’s this premise that sets the stage for sharp social satire, that
somehow unexpectedly stays grounded in reality -- although that reality
is a warped one. In other words, Galifianakis as the lead, for all the
quirk in his performance, conveys humanity and makes the character
sympathetic, especially as he later breaks out of that stupor to pursue
another woman he’s been pining for. This in turn makes the
transformations of Galifianakis’ character by the end of the movie all
the more resonant.
It would be hard to claim that “Visioneers,” like Galifianakis’ style of
comedy is for everyone, but it is a film that is rewarding to thoughtful
For information on screenings of “Visioneers,”