As the delicate balance of power begins to shift, enter slick
Nick Harris the headhunter, fresh from a liquid lunch with his
company's CEO and ready to kick back and unwind in the hotel
bar. But does he too have a shady past? Corporate climber Paula
(Julia Stiles - impressive) certainly thinks so. Julie (Stockard
Channing - the big hair, steely suits and high heels a far cry
from Grease's Betty Rizzo) is less sure.
Strangers may not be as cutting as Labute's study of executive
mind games, but the same static camera generates a close, stagey
feel (necessary for a small, intimate cast and setting) and
cleverly concocts a foreboding sense of claustrophobia.
This is a world exclusively of airport lounges, Hilton bars
and Holiday Inns: all corporate interiors and anonymous locales
of transition. It's make-up is that of drab and soulless glass-fronted
offices; it's theme, a constant stream of muzak from elevator
speakers and lounge PAs, only occasionally broken by the imposing
roar of a Boeing's engine lest we forget where we are.
Stettner keeps his debut tight and controlled; What he ends
up with for his troubles is authoritative and as cool as a Scotch
on the rocks