The Boss of It All

"Good"

The Boss of It All Review


Lars Von Trier seems like a smart fellow and to that end, I don't believe a word he says; at least not at face value. So, when he opens a film, in deconstructionist manor, with a proclamation that there is nothing up his sleeve and that he is trying to make a simple comedy, one can mull it over for a bit before realizing the man couldn't make a simple movie if he was handed the blueprints.

Ironically enough, the blueprints are handed straight to the audience: Von Trier's latest, The Boss of It All, basically lays out an office comedy while simultaneously instructing the audience on how a modern comedy should be made. Intermittently sprinkled through the narrative, von Trier's narration comes in to warn us of a change in plot that is "necessary," starting off falsely aloof and ending hopelessly irate. The man can't help himself.

This is the ploy: An actor named Kristoffer (Jens Albinus) is hired by Ravn (Peter Gantzler), the head of a company, to play the bigger boss to his smalltime boss before a large signing is implemented, effectively handing the company over to Icelandic businessmen. It seems that Ravn has created a plethora of stories and scenarios with all his subordinates about the "boss of it all," including the man's sexual proclivities, a slew of heartless firings, and a bewildering marriage proposal. Through all manner of pits and pendulums, Kristoffer survives to question the way Ravn handles things, leading to the final signing with the Icelanders.

We never really figure out what Ravn's company does, though much is made of its IT arrangements and its major product, Brooker. Vagueness becomes the tool of both protagonist and filmmaker at different times. Boss is hardly a retread of von Trier's "America" cycle; it's nowhere near as brilliant as Dogville and not nearly as complex as Manderlay. That we work for names, faces, and voices and not actual people isn't necessarily a new idea, but von Trier accents it well with his brand of tonic.

Where most of the films in von Trier's canon coexist as both experiment and defined narrative, Boss comes off as a pure experiment in narrative structure, at times reminiscent of something that would come out of The Five Obstructions. The most fascinating aspect is that if one ignores the experimental scaffolding, most of von Trier's film succeeds as a cynical office comedy, strikingly navigating and critiquing an employee's relation to the company, coworkers, and the big men in charge. But von Trier can't help being himself; ultimately the film descends into livid antagonism.

To von Trier, careerism and the business world have surpassed brutality and arrived in the realm of hostile idiocy. However, in true von Trier fashion, he also finds it necessary to comment on the stupendous absurdity of modern "romantic" comedies. In both, the filmmaker sees a dangerous obsession with being liked. It's comforting to know that being liked has never really mattered much to a man like von Trier.

Aka Direktøren for det hele.



The Boss of It All

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 8th December 2006

Distributed by: IFC First Take

Production compaines: Zentropa Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 48 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Meta Louise Foldager, Signe Jensen,

Starring: as Svend E, Direktoren for det hele, Kristoffe, as Ravn, Benedikt Erlingsson as Translator, as Nalle, Mia Lyhne as Heidi A., Casper Christensen as Gorm, as Mette, Sofie Gråbøl as Kisser, as Jokumsen, as Narrator, as Spencer, as Lise, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson as Finnur

Also starring:

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