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THE JOB

By admin | October 4, 1999

The Job is the fictional tale of an ex-Elvis impersonator and a hardened killer sent to teach a lesson to a Vietnamese fisherman. The film is set in Bayview, Texas in 1981 during a conflict between Vietnamese immigrants and local fishermen on the Texas Gulf coast. The Job is based upon a short story of the same name by author Joe R. Lansdale.
Bower (Jesse Garon), an ex Elvis impersonator (the young Elvis) and Kelly (Ike Gingrich), a white Sam Jackson if I ever saw one, are on their way to do a job for their boss.
This job involves teaching a lesson to and terrorizing the newly arrived Vietnamese immigrants who have taken up shrimping along the Texas coast. Most of this 11 minute short takes place in the car ride to carry out a their “job.” The nature of the job is not clearly explained except that it will be messy and unusually cruel. Along the way Kelly, slinging racist comments about blacks and Asians, tests the nerve of his young partner. Kelly’s along to make sure Bower follows through with the boss’ orders. All we know is that Bower’s victim will have a burn scar on the side of their face. When they pull up to a schoolyard it becomes clear that they are not after a fisherman but his daughter. The film ends with Bower luring the little girl to the car, showing her his knife.
The Job is a well-executed short, exposing the racism and violence which occurred during the all too true “shrimp war” on the Texas Gulf coast between 1979 and 1981. Feidler, in using this story, has allowed the viewer a glimpse into the mind of bigotry and hate from a period not so long ago.

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