Employee of the Month
by Daniel Baldwin
Ines is a 45-year-old paralegal doing the work of five people and getting the salary of less than one. She’s worked for the same cleaning products company for almost two decades and has yet to receive a raise. Paired with her is Melody, a college student intent on finishing out her accounting degree by completing an internship at said company – EcoCleanPro – which has recently laid off her own mother to save a few bucks. EcoCleanPro is run by a bunch of lazy, greedy, chauvinistic men who see little value in the women who work beneath them, save for whenever they want coffee or for the toilet paper to be refilled.
Ines is, understandably, fed up. She hasn’t had a raise in over a decade and a half and no one at the office takes her seriously. Melody views her internship as a means to an end; a hardship that must be endured so that she can complete her degree and bounce as soon as possible. To say these women are not enjoying their time working at EcoCleanPro would be putting it very, very mildly.
When Ines finally confronts the office manager about all of this, a (perhaps not so) tragic accident occurs that results in death. From there, the situation only continues to snowball for Ines and Melody. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing, however, for as the body count rises, so too do their spirits and camaraderie.
Writer/director Veronique Jadin has crafted a biting black comedy that takes female workplace anxieties and unleashes them like a bullet from the barrel of a gun. There’s a delightful throwback nature to the film that calls to mind the similar darkly comedic thrillers of the ‘90s. Enough so that Employee of the Month would not feel out of place in a movie marathon that also contained the likes of Office Killer, Very Bad Things, Curdled, and (of course) Office Space.
The stars of the show here are Jasmina Douieb and Laetitia Mampaka as Ines and Melody, respectively. Both are equally compelling in their separate performances, but their chemistry together really makes Jadin’s and co-screenwriter Nina Vanspranghe’s script sing. Single location films of any genre are not an easy feat to pull off and to do so with a comedy is exceptionally hard. Douieb and Mampaka carry this one across the finish line hand-in-hand.