Death of a Telemarketer

He sits in the big leather chair, he’s top of the sales board and he gets the best leads from his team leader Liz – just as well as the $3,000 bonus for the best month end figures will pay off the cash he had to borrow to pay for an engagement ring for Christine, currently working as a hair stylist to pay her way through college. Unfortunately, Kasey Miller is about to have a very bad day.

A couple of dead end calls killing his buzz, Barry steams ahead to get the bonus, leaving Kasey no alternative but to work late and miss his date with Christine, trying to make up the difference by delving into the cabinet containing the Do Not Call list, those whose need for telephone, cable television and internet services are secondary to their stated desire to never be contacted by TeleWIN! or any of its operatives no matter how desperate the circumstances.

Its name a play on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, writer/director Khaled Ridgeway’s feature debut Death of a Telemarketer sees New Girl‘s Lamorne Morris as the titular ill-fated telephonist who antagonises Asa Ellenbogen (Preacher‘s Jackie Earle Haley), grudge bearing-widower, the very definition of an unhappy customer, who breaks into the offices of TeleWIN! and takes Kasey hostage, forcing him at gunpoint to continue making unwanted calls to see if he can persuade anyone to forgive him.

Honesty discouraged in the pursuit of profit, Death of a Telemarketer portrays an industry composed of organised parasites, inveigling, harassing and unashamedly lying to the needy in order to hit target, yet asks for sympathy when the tables are turned on Kasey, a law school dropout who fast-talked his way into a situation which he must now negotiate his way out of.

A film about the need for sincerity which lacks the very attribute it seeks, concerned instead with deflection or distraction, Kasey blames the culture rather than giving any indication that he wishes to change it or leave so long as he benefits, Asa and his son (Yoga Hoser’s Haley Joel Osmont) better candidates for redemption while Christine (Shadowhunters’ Alisha Wainwright) serving no purpose other than as a prop to pretend Kasey’s motivation is something other than entirely self-serving.

Paralleling Cadillac Man, a Robin Williams vehicle of 1990, Death of a Telemarketer is unsure if it wishes to be comedy or tragedy and so fails at both, laying the board for a satire of corporate America and consumerism then instead opting to play a game of reconciliation, the outcome of which was never in doubt, Kasey neither growing nor learning through his experience, sweating for his life yet unrepentant when he regains the upper hand.

Death of a Telemarketer will be available on digital download from Monday 28th February



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