Waydowntown is an interesting movie. It has the same sort of "quit your job, be redeemed, or at least be happier" idea behind it as Office Space, American Beauty, and Clerks. It was shot in Calgary, the city in which I live, and is actually set in this city for once (lots of movies are shot here, but are set in American cities). The basic story revolves around four young office workers who make a bet, which is that the person who stays inside the longest wins. It's day 24.

Apparently there are other Canadian cities like Calgary, where much of the downtown core is connected by enclosed pedestrian bridges. In Calgary, this system is called the +15 (because it's fifteen feet off the ground), and the +15 is what makes the premise of the movie possible. Since the four characters involved in the bet all live and work in buildings in the downtown core, they can use the +15 system to stay inside all the time.

The film really isn't so much about the bet as it is about one character's personal growth over the course of about one lunch hour. The bet seems like a device which is used to accelerate the character's growth, by forcing him into situations where he must make decisions which he begins to regret, decisions that make him question his morals and motivations.

Aside from the bet, a number of other wacky devices are used to illustrate the mental state of the characters. In particular, the characters seem to wear a lot of different colored shirts, which annoyed me at the time because the whole movie is supposed to take place within the space of a day. But I later realized that this was probably intended to convey some information about how the character is feeling. Other things that don't make sense in a the literal world are the superhero sightings experience by the protagonist, the large weird fish like thing that he imagines to be devouring his leg, and the swimming along the +15's.

I think the superhero sightings are intended to represent the salvation the protagonist is seeking. He doesn't really like the world he is working in, and is starting to see all the things within himself he doesn't like. The very last sequence of the movie is the superhero catching someone who is committing suicide by jumping out of an office window; since the character has quite his job and feels good about it, he is seeing his own salvation.

Anyway, it's a pretty good movie, so I would recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good independent flick.

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