A critique of toxic workplace culture: my thoughts on “Broken Ceiling”

Rating: ★★★★

We’ve all had to endure conference calls at work, and we all know how boring they can be. When I realised that Broken Ceiling takes place almost entirely within a conference call, I was worried that they wouldn’t be able to keep my attention for a full hour and a half. However, I’m pleased to say I was wrong!

Broken Ceiling is Adam Davis’ first feature film, following office assistant Angela as she deals with workplace discrimination based on both her gender and race. She is surrounded by white men and gets pushed to the side, despite the hard work she puts in every day. The film throws us straight into the middle of the action, right when the company is dealing with their biggest and most important deal to date. It is during this deal when all of the drama unfolds.

Karan Kendrick completely shines in the leading role, bringing Angela and her struggles to life on screen. I was captivated by her raw and honest performance throughout. She has reached breaking point, and does the unthinkable in order to make her colleagues finally listen to her. She has the power throughout most of this film, as she skilfully puts everyone in their place. Kendrick is a joy to watch and I was absolutely on her character’s side, rooting for her the whole time.

The cast is very small, only featuring four key characters. I enjoyed every performance in Broken Ceiling because of the way they reflected very familiar personalities. These kinds of characters exist in real life business, and contribute to the toxic environment. Regen Wilson is the power-hungry, short-tempered CEO Ken Wolfe, who constantly berates and yells at his staff whilst putting on a cheerful facade for his clients. He makes difficult decisions easily, and seems to lack compassion for those around him.

Beside him on the call are Rane Jameson and Torran Kitts as rival salesmen Tyler and Garrett, who are riddled with their own personal flaws. They are entitled and deceitful, both wanting the most praise and recognition whilst simultaneously ignoring Angela.  The dynamic between these characters is often fast paced and intense, thanks to Davis’ great script.

The cast and script are a match made in heaven, delivering memorable lines of dialogue and many twists and turns to keep the audience engaged and wondering what happens next. Whilst, admittedly, it may be a little far-fetched in places, it makes for a great piece of drama that draws on real life issues to raise an important critique of corporate life.

Overall I thought Broken Ceiling was a strong debut film with an important message about modern workplace culture. Despite a few sound and camerawork issues, I thought it was a well made and crafted film, especially for a feature length independent film. The pacing is right, the script is captivating, and the performances are strong. It’s a film that I urge you to experience for yourself and let Angela’s voice finally be heard.

You can watch the trailer for Broken Ceiling below:

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