It would be unwise to base your expectations for this movie upon its much-hyped trailer released in April 2008 - the movie is very different, tonally, from the trailer. However, people who’ve been waiting for a year to watch Visioneers may be wondering whether it was worth it. That answer is somewhat complex, but in a nutshell: yes. It is a very good movie and you will thoroughly enjoy watching it. Whether it’s as good as you may have hoped is another story.
First, if you’ve never heard of Visioneers, here’s a brief summary: Zach Galifianakis stars as George Washington Winsterhammerman, who works at the Jeffers Corporation as a Level 3 Tunt. In the movie, Jeffers has corporatized most of the United States, pushing productivity and consumerism as the most noble of American values. There’s a problem in this perfect dystopia, however - its citizens, for seemingly no reason, have been spontaneously exploding. As Winsterhammerman suffers from dreams of being George Washington during the Revolutionary War, we follow him through his descent into madness and his struggles to not explode.
Visioneers intends to be a dark satire that highlights the apathy and artifice surrounding our society of conspicuous consumption and media obsession. The dialogue delivers this message in such a transparent and obvious way that the aura of malice that lingers throughout the narrative feels cartoonish at best. But the way that the filmmakers introduce this alternate world of the Jeffers Corporation is intriguingly layered (especially during the first half-hour). Any given scene most likely has a television screen blaring important plot information, layered over spoken dialogue, layered over the subtext spelled out on the faces of the characters. I often found myself rewinding a few minutes back in the middle of a scene so I could catch all of the different audio tracks and hilarious background jokes I missed. The entire movie may be an obnoxious metaphor, but it’s sure as hell a very funny and very dark one, and most scenes taken by themselves are engaging enough that the allegory being shoved in your face can be mostly ignored - and the intensely gratifying ending basically sold me on the previous 90 minutes.
As for the performances, they’re all solid to spectacular. Galifianakis, in particular, is very nice to watch in this subtly comic role that bears almost no relation to his stand-up character (save for his mispronunciation of the word “chaos”). Judy Greer is great as Galifianakis’ wife, and Missi Pyle turns in a fucking hysterical supporting performance as an Oprah-esque talk show host slowly going nuts.
The film was made by two brothers who funded it themselves, so I would recommend buying the DVD immediately - they definitely deserve to get paid for this.