The Temp

(Tom Holland, USA, 1993)


In Australia, The Temp went straight to video – seeming to indicate that the early '90s cycle of intimacy thrillers including Single White Female (1992) and Raising Cain (1992) had run its box office course. But this late entry, with its volatile mix of personal neuroses and corporate office politics, is worth a look.

Expertly directed by Tom Holland (Fright Night, 1985), the premise here revolves around the dangerously close relationship between company man Peter (Timothy Hutton) and his eager personal assistant, Kris (Lara Flynn Boyle).

Arriving one day as a mere temp, Kris rapidly climbs the business ladder, pursuing a canny takeover bid that may or not include murder.

The novel twist on a familiar formula comes with the complication that Peter is clinically paranoid, prone to jealous and violent fits that have led to a separation from his wife.

As long as the film keeps open all the ambiguities inherent in the plot, and trades in some delicious social and sexual undertones, it works as an intriguing thriller. But prepare yourself for a pretty unimaginative ending.

MORE Holland: Thinner

© Adrian Martin September 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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