Faint echoes of early efforts by Jim Jarmusch and Hal Hartley resound throughout "Security," a slight but sporadically amusing slice of deadpan absurdism.

Faint echoes of early efforts by Jim Jarmusch and Hal Hartley resound throughout “Security,” a slight but sporadically amusing slice of deadpan absurdism. Pic should secure ample fest exposure, though theatrical prospects are very iffy.

At once rigorously structured and amiably freewheeling, comedy progresses in a series of short, borderline-cryptic blackouts, with well-cast actors working from outline provided by helmer Brien Burroughs (“Suckerfish”), improvising all dialogue. Two midnight-shift security guards — bellicose Pat (Stephen Kearin), laid-back Bill (Tim Orr) — take their jobs at a candy factory much too seriously, to the point of aggressively interrogating anyone (even janitors and maintenance workers) they encounter on their watch. When prototype candy samples start disappearing, the guards vow to uncover the culprits, even if that means moonlighting on the day shift. Seriocomic interplay between Kearin and Orr propels most of pic’s understated humor — a surprise birthday party hosted by one guard for another is surprisingly sweet as well as slyly funny. Orr also shines in scenes depicting Bill’s tentative romance with a shy, bespectacled temp secretary appealingly played by Regina Saisi. Tech credits are serviceable.

Security

Production

A Glass Eye production. Produced by Brien Burroughs, Gerardo Merino. Directed by Brien Burroughs.

Crew

Camera (color), Gerardo Merino; editor, Melissa Lawson, Beatriz Lopez; music, Jason Tubbs. Reviewed at South by Southwest Film Festival (Feature Competition), March 15, 2003. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Tim Orr, Stephen Kearin, Regina Saisi, Gerri Lawlor, Tom Wade.
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