The Technical Writer


Bottom 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2003 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Michael Harris, Tatum O'Neal, William Forsythe, Pamela Gordon, Natalia Novikova, Oksana Lada

Non-Cast Credits

Scott Saunders, Michael Yanko, Lisa Yanko, Susan Leber, James Calabrese, David Leitner, Michael Harris, David Leonard, Jory Adam


Merriman Jessup checked out of the human race long ago. A grumpy, repressed agoraphobic, he surfaces from grinding out computer manuals in his windowless hovel only long enough to collect food delivieries or visit his dying buddy upstairs.

In The Technical Writer, Scott Saunders's superbly realized, smartly written third feature, Jessup becomes a reluctant Frankenstein experiment about to join the land of the living. As he is dragged kicking and screaming out of his arid shell by decadent, unabashedly forthright neighbors, he discovers a subterranean part of himself he thought was dead. The flip side of this emotionally paralyzed hermit turns out to be a man with qualities we never expected, so watching his untidy transformation is sheer pleasure. Though his awakening brings its share problems, Jessup is finally free because he risked feeling anything at all.

Raw and thruthful, with extraordinary performances by Michael Harris, Tatum O'Neal, and Pamela Gordon, The Technical Writer explores an idiosyncratic New York where doors are always unlocked and enigmatic neighbors unapologetically engage in perversions. Saunders never sensationalizes quirkiness; rather he fashions a nonjudgmental universe where strangeness is the "norm", and desire a messy, unkempt thing. Deeply moving, this at times delectably naughty tale restores our faith in humanity -- warts and all.


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.