It’s time for an old film about corporate business. You see large businesses like Wal-Mart messing with people all the time, but nobody is ever able to stop them. They’re too powerful and even control politics. Well, this film is about one such incident where a small town guy ends up being hired by a big company. The problem is that it’s all very overwhelming and he notices Ramsey (the boss) picking on his supervisor, Mr. Briggs. Will Fred do something about it or will he quietly wait so he can get the promotion. He has to decide and quickly before a murder occurs!
One of the ways that you can tell this is an old film is how there’s a lot of background noise. It’s like the home videos we create at home where the wind sounds extremely fierce over the loud speaker. There were times in the film where it would almost drown out what the characters were saying. I felt like the film improved on that once the first act was over, but it was definitely pretty interesting to see. The black and white color scheme can definitely help for this kind of flick. It gives the film a more intense backdrop.
The cast is relatively small here so you can just focus on the inter office politics going on. I’d say that Fred did a pretty good job for the most part. He did stick up for Mr. Briggs in the final office and also tried to set the matter straight that Briggs helped him. It’s definitely tough to talk back to the boss in this kind of setting, but that’s why you’ve gotta be bold. I like to think that I won’t take anything from a boss. Naturally they get the last word in and can ultimately fire you, but a good polite, but stern comeback can always go a long way.
Now, a big part of whether you like Fred or not will probably come down to his decision at the end and whether you agree with it or not. It’s definitely one of those decisions that will make you wonder and for what it’s worth, I probably would have gone with his plan. It makes sense to do what he did because then you’ve still got a fighting chance at making the company better from the inside. The giant pay increase doesn’t hurt matters either. It’s definitely a busy business and one with people who really want it to grow. Someone’s got to keep them in check.
Naturally, Ramsey was the big villain of the film. He’s definitely a mean guy who doesn’t give much thought to the people around him unless they are working perfectly. He just wants to make the business as great as can be and will do anything to see that happen. He makes for a good antagonist and is the kind of guy that you’d want as a correspondent when meeting other companies. You need a tough guy who won’t back down to the rivals. That being said, the negative consequences of this on your own staff are obvious which is why you would have to let him go. When he rises up to become the big boss, that’s when things get tricky. There’s always the question of whether you should help people at the expense of your business or growing to new heights and potentially helping more people in the long run, but messing with people in the short run. Spoiler alert, the first option is always best. Keep trying to improve and raise revenue, but it can’t be at the expense of your workers or environment. That’s just a sign that you have to come up with a new idea. As a consumer it’s great to see such low prices at Wal-Mart, but you know that they come at a big price which is unfortunate.
Mr. Briggs is essentially the only person watching out for the little guy until Fred came along. As such, he is thrown under the bus quite a lot. At his level the company can’t really fire him which means they have to try and bully him until he quits. I’m always mocking social norms and this is exactly why. The company can’t fire him because of their image which means that as long as he doesn’t care about the insults, Briggs can just keep collecting his check. News flash, that’s exactly what I would do. I know there’s nothing they can do about it so I’d just show up to work with a smile every day and let the insults roll over me. Whenever the insults start to get personal, I’d just look at my bank account and smile again. If they do decide to fire me, I receive a very generous severance package so we take those. Unfortunately for Briggs he has a heart condition which starts to get fatal so he couldn’t engage in the benefits, but he had a good attitude about the whole thing as he vowed to never quit.
There were a few other supporting characters who showed up once in a while. Briggs had a kid named Peter who was around to make him feel more guilty about the job. Fred’s wife also popped up to make the situation a lot tougher for him and to guilt trip him into doing the wrong thing. Finally we had the secretary who was pretty good at her job, but ultimately didn’t make many moves to stop the corruption. She simply focused on staying alive in the job. As you can tell, I thought the main cast was a whole lot stronger than the backups.
One area that I thought the film did a really good job in was not making Mr. Briggs petty. I was fully expecting him to be really jealous of Fred since the main character was hired to replace him. Even knowing this, Briggs never acted mean to Fred. Sure, he may have slyly tried to seat Fred a little further down the table once, but they got along right away. The world turned against Briggs, but he stayed as a nice guy right up til the end.
Of course, one thing that didn’t help his heart was the fact that Briggs ran to the beer when things get tough. Most of the characters in this film had a “It’s Miller Time!” moment when the situation kept on deteriorating. That’s definitely a bad habit and hopefully one that they can break. That was the one line that the film was missing as the writing was quite solid otherwise. The script was on point and all of the characters were pretty realistic. I would have liked to have had one more ally in the board room, but it is true that most people suddenly begin to look out for themselves in that case so I could see everyone staying quiet.
Overall, Patterns is a solid film. While it may have been satisfying for Fred to have landed a hit on Ramsey at the end and been arrested or fired, having him around to insult the guy with back and forth banter for the next few years is still pretty interesting. The moral of the story is that you want to be in a union or a top executive so you can’t be fired and then you don’t have to take anything from your bosses. If you have a tough boss or enjoy seeing films like this, I’d definitely recommend checking this film out asap. It’s definitely aged pretty well and this is something that still happens nowadays so the film isn’t dated in that sense. The only thing that can take some getting used to is the odd static sound in the background, but you’ll be able to tune it out before long.