Friday, March 18, 2011

WHO'S WHO (1979) - Mike Leigh

Or "Scenes from the Class Struggle in the West End."

Who's Who is a milder Leigh television outing than Abigail's Party or Nuts in May. He's back to film again and ticking between the lives of the haves and have-nots in a loosely connected series of stories about workers high and low in a London brokerage firm. The "who" who gets the most screen time is the mustachioed striver above, a sycophant of all things Royal who keeps a carefully tended file of coveted publicity photos and rejected fan letters when he's not shooing away his wife's horde of pedigree Chinchilla cats.

Less amusing but angrier is the have-not worker who shares an apartment with a young, slumming-it blue-blood. Though he strives hard to be proper and agreeable, you see the bile on his face every time he offers to clean the dirty bathroom tub, get the groceries or a prepare an extravagant dinner for his idle rich roommate's friends. Though they are roomies and pay the same rent, there is no doubt that no matter what he does he will always be this man's butler.

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