“Jerome’s Razor” is a handsomely produced but dramatically inert feature about a twentysomething office drone suffocating in a dead-end life. Stuck in a job where he is ill-appreciated by his superiors and annoyed endlessly by a boorish co-worker who inexplicably becomes his boss, he falls into an affair with an attractive co-worker which quickly spirals into further unhappiness. In an unusual act of rebellion, he escapes from his little world and soon finds himself amid a group of verbose eccentrics who take him on a trek (physically as well as metaphorically) through the New Mexican wilderness. Far from the confines of the office/hell where he was trapped, he comes into his own as a human and finds his place in the world.
To its credit, “Jerome’s Razor” is one of the best-looking indie features currently in circulation. Kudos are in order to writer-director-producer John Swon and cinematographer Dave Kertovich for creating a polished production on the proverbial shoestring budget. These creative artists know how to bring magic to their camera, whether in capturing the extraordinary New Mexico landscapes or in populating their film with an ensemble of highly attractive young performers.
Unfortunately, “Jerome’s Razor” is burdened with a whiny and frequently irritating story which keeps the film from soaring. The first part of the
story strains credibility to the fraying point, expecting the audience to believe the depressed desk jockey is completely lacking in any friends or family or outside interest that his entire life is wrapped up in a monotonous job from which he cannot possible extract himself. Much of the problem here is casting Marcus Edward, who is such an intelligent presence that he just cannot give the impression of being a put-upon wage-slave imprisoned in his employment. The obvious response to his endless complaining inevitably elicits contempt or confusion…why doesn’t he look for work elsewhere? By the time he extracts himself from this morass, too much time has passed and the New Mexican portion of the film (which is entertaining, if a bit obvious) cannot free itself from the dead weight which proceeded it and it is difficult to final impact is a bit weak.
With a tighter screenplay, “Jerome’s Razor” could have been a rewarding experience. Unfortunately, this razor (if you pardon the bad pun) is equal parts sharp and dull and, ultimately, can only cut half of what it should have sliced.