Synopsis by Anthony Reed
After years of making movies in the fringes of the Hollywood system after his debut success sex, lies, and videotape, director Steven Soderbergh made Schizopolis as, in his own words, an artistic "wake-up call to himself." The result is a discombobulated, irreverent, comedic meta-movie, a cinematic hall of mirrors nearly impossible to describe. Soderbergh wrote, directed, photographed, edited, and even stars in the film as Fletcher Munson, a disillusioned paper-pusher assigned to write a deliberately meaningless speech for T. Azimuth Schwitters, an L. Ron Hubbard-esque self-help guru whose new book Eventualism is a bestseller. His heart isn't in it, however, so he spends most of his time either masturbating in the employee bathroom, avoiding calls from people who want to hire him as a company spy, or listening to the paranoid delusions of his office chum, Nameless Numberhead Man. Intertwined with Munson's attempt to write glib diatribes are numerous asides and subplots. Best of all is the story of Elmo Oxygen: an orange-jumpsuit wearing bug exterminator who appears to be sleeping with several of his customers, including T. Azimuth Schwitters' wife. At one point, Elmo is coerced into leaving Schizopolis, mid-scene, to join another movie. Convoluted and playful as the movie is, there is some method to Soderbergh's madness. The various plot threads, though loosely wound to the core, do in fact lead to some understanding of the disorders, communication problems, and frustrations at the heart of contemporary life.
delusion, madness, paranoia, commitment [personal], communication, communication-gap, cult, exterminator, frustration, man-vs-machine, monologue, office-worker, technology, understanding, self-help, masturbation