The Good Boss – Film Review

The Good Boss – Film Review
by Frank L.

Director – Fernando León de Aranoa
Writer – Fernando León de Aranoa
Stars – Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor

Blanco (Javier Bardem) is the paternalistic boss of a family business, Basculas Blanco, which he has inherited and has run for some time. Its name is proudly proclaimed above the entrance gates. It is situated in a provincial town and it manufactures weighing scales of all shapes and sizes. Blanco is a big shot in the local community and he likes to think that he is the father of the firm, the good boss, of one big happy family. As the film opens he is concerned by an impending visit of a local committee who are about to make an award for a prestigious prize. Blanco wants everything to be tickety-boo in his factory so that victory will be his.

But from the beginning there are problems: the recently dismissed employee (Oscar de la Fuente) who is determined to get his job back and is vocal about the injustice he has suffered; Miralles (Monolo Solo) who is having domestic problems and his efficiency is as a result compromised and Liliana (Almudena Amor) a new intern whose tall good looks cause Blanco’s amorous juices to become agitated. There are a host of minor characters portrayed with precision which all add to the mix as the impending visit draws closer. Blanco becomes increasingly perplexed as the varying individual problems intersect. The confidence displayed in the opening scenes diminishes and he starts to show signs of exasperation!

The plot gives rise to a series of situations where comedy rules joyously. Bardem, with his natural gravitas, adds a measured refinement to the dilemmas which Blanco faces created for the most part by his sense of self-importance and poor self-analysis. There are many delicious moments which are intensified by the high quality of the casting of the subsidiary characters. Aranoa as the writer adds another aspect to the depth of the film in that there are two violent scenes which are remote from the comedic. Again Blanco’s reaction to these events is seen not to be quite so benign as his outward persona would like to convey. Everything is carefully modulated and it all adds to a certain empathy that one has for Blanco even if he is a self-important middle-aged man with all the flaws that that term entails.

A person who does not have to rely on the sub-titles will probably enjoy the twists and turns of the dialogue even more than those who, like this reviewer, have to rely on the text provided. The cinematography and the background music adds further ballast to what is a splendid film. With the lack of good news in the world here is a film that will bring a smile to your face. Sit back and enjoy.

Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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