24th February 2018
Shift embodies an experience had by most young adults; that being a job in which they have no intention of keeping, surrounded by adults that have or will work there for their entire lives. We see this played out in Shift, initiated by the break room scene of Alex’s first night on the job. As Alex describes his goals for future success, the other characters are left wondering what 800 dollars in their hand would look like. It seems as if this scene is simply awkward and somewhat pointless; however, it is this scene where the viewer sees an important motif included by Jonathan Yi. This motif consists of the diverse selection of characters in the post office, each possessing a peculiar hamartia related to repetition. It is through these repetitions that Alex is drawn further and further from is lifelong goals.
This sort of hodgepodge of cultures is intentionally included in the film to demonstrate that people from all backgrounds can be caught in the monotonous metronome of the workplace. By this, I mean that the office place is a place that lacks creativity, and seems to function to a narrow set of repetitive actions. The previously mentioned forms of repetition can be seen through the banging of the vending machine, spilling of the coffee, or the ever-increasing amount of pizza in the break room. These are all symbolic of their repetitious actions throughout the post office, constantly scanning, inserting, or even ruining envelopes. It’s through these actions that Alex becomes more and more complacent with his position at the post office, and less enticed to meet his previously set goals. As he meets with Melanie, it is clear that Alex is losing interest in the upper class lifestyle that she is imposing upon him through his body language and demeanor during the conversation. Towards the end of the film, it is revealed to the workers that they have all lost their jobs. This means very little to Alex and his acting career; however, he begins to realize that this job was everything to those around him. A melancholy conversation with Mark reveals to Alex that he is very well off in comparison to the other workers, and it seems as if Alex no longer wants to leave his co-workers or this lifestyle behind. He has become too accustomed to his newfound lifestyle, or one could say he his “in tune” with the monotonous metronome of the workplace. This is confirmed as Alex makes a mental connection with the gardener at Melanie’s house, and decides to abandon his initial goal of joining her within the “upper tier” of society.