Director: Michael Walker
Cast: Eric Mabius, Parker Posey, Annie Parisse, Edward Hermann
Synopsis: When a family man working in a failing retail store has his life turned upside-down by a new female boss, he discovers she’s grooming him for an executive position – but what price will he have to pay for success?
PRICE CHECK is a very brave film. Its characters are not the most sympathetic and its message may be off putting to many in the audience. However, the questions it raises and the inner conflict of its protagonist will resonate with viewers, particularly men, especially in the current zeitgeist.
When we first meet Pete Cozy, (Mabius) he is a happily married man of modest means. Pete, who had worked in the music industry years before and loved what he did, is now provides for his family by working for a moribund supermarket chain in suburban New York City. Enter Susan Felders (Posey) as textbook Type A personality, who is brought in to save the fledgling business.
Susan is a foul-mouthed termagant who lives for her career. She’s a slave driver and is on a jihad to bolster sales and get the job done. However, she does take a particular shine to Pete, immediately doubles his salary, and soon takes him to an importnat board meeting in Los Angeles to help advance his career. But it’s all very Faustian – Pete soon finds that high levels of success come at a great cost.
PRICE CHECK is beautifully directed and written by Michael Walker (CHASING SLEEP), and the cast is uniformly excellent. Eric Mabius’s does an excellent job of conveying Pete’s inner turmoil, trying to reconcile his family life, which is very important to him and the increasingly important role, thrust upon him, in the corporate world. Parker Posey is very good as Susan, the ultimate shrew – but her character is a bit one-dimensional. She is the quintessential ‘Dragon Lady’, but the why and the wherefore of her character are never exposed and mores’ the pity. Annie Parisse does a fine job, with what little she has and kudos to the supporting cast – especially to Edward Hermann as Bennington, in an honest, subtle and a very fine performance, Remy Auberjonois as Todd Kenner and special kudos to Josh Pais as Doug, numbers crunchers extraordinaire, who is luminous in a beautifully executed scene, when discussing his sex life with Pete.
The issue of careerism is nothing new in modern fiction and film, but it’s usually the woman who is the victim. Walker is a very brave director and writer, for here, Pete is the victim. The women in this film get EVERYTHING they want and neither Susan nor Sarah comes off well here. Pete on the other hand, does what responsible men do – he provides for his family, at the expense of his own happiness and passion. Feminists might despise PRICE CHECK but the message that the MAN in the family is, invariably, the breadwinner and all expectations and responsibilities fall to him is something we’ve not seen in films in recent years. Equal pay for women, when it is the man who brings home the bacon? Walker says, “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”
PRICE CHECK opens in selected US cities 16th November and will arrive in the UK next year.
PRICE CHCEK is also available on VOD, iTunes, Sundance Now, XBOX, Playstation, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube