Jerry Downing is a wandering soul in search of inspiration and an opportunity to publish his novel. His flatmates, Kerry, Julia and Rachel are presented to us through his eyes, and before they moved in he could flex some economic muscle. Now that he is unemployed he is an outsider. Julia can see the possibilities in him and tries to sell him a new identity by finding a job where he has the opportunity to be united with his other half like she has. He rejects the offer because he has tried that before and failed. His decision to devote himself entirely to his novel makes him very unpopular. This is highlighted when Julia says: ‘I just hope it’s worth giving up three years of your life.’ Convinced that he is socially and emotionally naïve, Julia storms out of the room and pronounces judgment on him. At this point the wandering theme is introduced as Jerry makes his way to Clapham Junction jobcentre to sign on the dole. It continues into the claustrophobic environment of his room where he checks in for agency work. The darkness quickly gathers as his efforts are nullified. He continues his lonely wanderings looking at job adverts with sad eyes, knowing that the restricted list is going to prevent him for securing those jobs. He returns home, pacing up and down in his room like a caged animal in a private trap. The combination of emptiness and isolation in the montage dramatises the anxiety of being unemployed. He tries to extricate himself from the quicksand of his obsession by looking out of the window.
The World of Jerry Downing