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Film Review: The Good Boss

Director:  Fernando León de Aranoa

Cast:    Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor, Óscar de la Fuente, Sonia Almarcha, Fernando Albizu, Tarik Rmili, Rafa Castejón, Celso Bugallo

Rating:     M

Running Time:     120

Australian Distributor:      Sharmill Films


It takes very little to understand that The Good Boss is a film full of symbolic references that openly show the sense of the narrative and of the critique of the capitalist system. A satirical comedy always poised between possible drama (but never shown as such) and irony , the one written and directed by Fernando Léon de Aranoa.  The Good Boss instead looks on the other side of the fence and shows the controversial management of the company on the side of the owner, trying to avoid easy moralisms. Mr. Blanco (Javier Bardem) is the owner of a company that produces scales, and in the final for the award of a prize to local entrepreneurs. To obtain yet another recognition, the boss is ready to solve in every way all the problems that arise shortly before the visit of the selection board.   

Selfless in purpose but selfish in purpose, Blanco (who has no children) is an omnipresent – but not omnipotent – father towards his employees; he rises above them to direct and judge them; his sole purpose is productivity and efficiency and he is interested above all in preserving the façade, the external image of the company. Blanco is the common thread of a collective narrative in which he too, like all the other characters, is a pawn within a perfectly constructed chessboard where everyone covers, in turn and at the same time, the opposite roles of the traitor and the betrayed, of the the opportunist and the exploited, the winner and the vanquished.

Thus, Blanco’s rhetoric, his continuous return to the values ​​of the company and his creed as a condescending owner, joins the cyclical structure of the film, in which, during the working week, everything returns twice with signs and values. different, where the speeches of thanks to the employees are confused with the funeral farewells. But there is no trace of pietism because the social drama is always tempered by a biting cynicism that does not spare even the last fired worker.

Held together by the contradictory, attractive and repulsive personality of its protagonist, the story is the result of very careful and balanced writing in the description of the internal relations of that capitalist system in which everything can become a bargaining chip (from sex to the life of others) in a opportunist vortex that involves everyone and also swallows those who feed it.  


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