The movie begins with some nice panoramic shots of a small industrial city. People going about their business, cars obeying traffic laws and leaf blown streets of well manicured lawns and cared for gardens.
The camera zooms right up to the desk of office worker Justin Workhouse. He is finishing
filling in the blank areas of some documents as others pass his desk some making sidelong expressions of dissatisfaction. His day at the office unfolds with exchanges between himself and other co-workers until there is a physical altercation and Justin Workhouse is wrestled to the floor.
The next scene he is in his employer's office and he is being dismissed. He leaves the building where he works and gets into his car that has clear mechanical problems.
The next several scenes feature his efforts to regain emplyment, and the scenes are punctuated with receptionists repeating his name Justin Workhouse in succession to indicate a lapse of time and many individual efforts to find a job. At the end of the sequence he is drinking in a bar talking to the ladies that frequent it and when he is about to introduce himself he pauses as if his name is reflected in the women's very positions. He staggers back and bumps into someone carrying drinks.
There is a scuffle and he is injured as well as his opponents, and he is arrested by the police. When they ask him his name he begins a long-winded emotional rant that to some critics will become the centre-piece of the film. He is taken as suicidal and brought to the hospital for evaluation where he fights with one of the security guards when he feels the social position between them is too unequal, and he is offended by the gaurd's slavishness.
When he is speaking to the psychiatrist later in restraints, he trys to explain what he is feeling but he soon realizes that he has said too much and that most of what he has said has been interpreted using decades of alienism of patients not unlike him.
After a vague period of treatment he is released and he returns home to find that he has been evicted and new tenants have taken his place. His car has been towed and the impound fee is higher than its value.
He is now homeless, and wanders the streets in a chemically induced haze. He visits the public library and looks at books, but does not understand them. He types his name into the library search , and finds some books on workhouses, but none of them are people much less people related to him.
Just when he picks one of the workhouse books off the shelf he sees a librarian pointing in his direction and some security company guards heading in his direction. He looks back at the book and the camera zooms deep into the picture, deeper than the human eye can see and the text is indecipherable to the audience until the film credits roll.