Powerful material, powerfully rendered by the director and co-writer Elem Klimov, yet the scene goes on for so long with such heavy-handed intrusions that you are left with a feeling of being worked on - which means the effects have stopped working. So it is with the movie as a whole, which won a grand prize at the 1985 Moscow international film festival.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9B0DE3DB103CF935A35751C0A961948260

Can you tell me what the passage in bold exactly means in the review. From the context I think that the author wants to tell that the scene is too long and explicit in exposed violence that it became monotonous… But I do not understand the phrase "feeling of being worked on".

  • 3
    I think it means "a feeling of being manipulated"; the writer probably chose worked on as a turn of phrase to complement "which means the effects have stopped working." I don't think the turn of phrase quite works, myself. – Robusto Nov 4 '17 at 23:16

Robusto's comment is correct.

When we work on someone, we attempt to bring them around to our point of view, especially (but not necessarily) in a heavy-handed and obvious manner that involves wearing them down until they assent or consent.

It would be great if we could take the car to the beach this coming weekend. You work on mom, and I'll work on dad.

We need to get offices instead of these open cubicles. It's impossible to concentrate with all the chatter. But we will have to work on the head of the relocation committee. He's wedded to the idea that an open floor plan leads to collaboration.

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