Peter Gerety is a familiar character actor who’s appeared in Syriana, Public Enemies, Charlie Wilson’s War, and scores of other movies and TV shows, including Ray Donovan. Working Man offers him his first leading role (at age 80!), alongside Talia Shire and Billy Brown. It’s a modest indie film that starts out in a Frank Capra populist vein and then takes some surprising turns. I missed it when it opened this past spring and I’m glad I caught up with it now.
The setting is an archetypal American town where Gerety follows a daily routine that never varies, walking to work at a nearby factory, carrying a lunch pail and thermos. When the facility abruptly shuts down without concern for its personnel, Gerety—who seldom speaks—refuses to change his pattern, showing up and sneaking in a back door to continue “going to work” every day. One morning he’s joined by a relative newcomer to the town (Brown), and before long several dozen others are at their side. They decide to make a stand, occupying the factory and spending their days completing orders for the plastic parts they manufacture.
Gerety’s character is taciturn, to put it mildly. He’s finally impelled to speak when his wife forces him to confront reality—and circumstances that have mushroomed beyond his control.
Working Man is a creditable feature debut for writer-director Robert Jury and his actors come through for him. His characters’ plight is an all-too-familiar one but he incorporates a couple of twists that maintain interest without unduly stretching credulity. It’s not a perfect movie but it’s worth a look. You can find it on many platforms including Vudu, DirecTV, and Amazon Prime.