The Zellner Brothers made their name with a series of shorts -- made on a budget, crafted with verve, full of a very American minimalism. They were shorts where the punchlines were funny, but the long, agonized pause after was what really made you laugh. In their feature-length debut, Goliath, writer-director David Zellener plays our unnamed protagonist, a fussy, perpetually upset high-tech worker facing an ugly divorce, a demotion at work and the general collapse of his life. He has one connection to the world, though -- his cat, Goliath. Goliath is there for him (and what may be more subconsciously important in his darker moments is the fact that he is there for Goliath). Goliath matters.

Goliath is missing.

And with that, things go from bad to worse with startling speed in a journey to the bottom full of the sort of comedy that springs from sincere, writhe-in-your seat discomfort. All the indignities and miseries of modern life are heaped upon our hero in Goliath -- legal troubles, humiliating career setbacks, the collapse of marriage -- and a few new ones are added like sprinkles on top: The sex offender down the street, the grim excitement of found pornography, the background hum of the server farm punctuated only by the sound of your idiot co-workers beatboxing their lunch break away. Things are not good, and Goliath being missing is not helping any.