The Good Boss (El buen patrón)

The Good Boss

Awaiting a visit by a committee that could give his company an award for excellence, the owner of an industrial scales manufacturing business tries to resolve any problems from his workers in enough time.

The Good Boss’ is a slick corporate satire starring Javier Bardem as the owner of a factory who can’t help himself from getting involved in the lives of his employees. He plays Julio Blanco, who is now in charge of the family scale-making business, a setup that makes for a nice metaphor for much of the events that occur throughout the movie. He’s the kind of boss who has an overinflated opinion of himself, particularly with regards to how he imagines his workers view him, and this view contrasts with the reality of a man who only cares about his employees in so much as it benefits the company and by extension himself.

This movie is all about Javier Bardem and he’s at his most charismatic here, outwardly slick, charming and well presented, yet beneath the veneer he is deeply manipulative with little care for how his machinations impact on his employees. Bardem is magnificent and if he doesn’t quite make you like the profoundly unpleasant Blanco, he certainly makes him incredibly compelling to watch as he tries to stay ahead of each crisis that presents itself to him. Blanco’s sole aim is for his business to win yet another prestigious reward, and he cares little for who he upsets or whose livelihood he damages to achieve that goal, whether it be a disgruntled former worker, a drunk former friend, or a new intern he takes a shine too. For Blanco, presentation is all, and if that is on point it doesn’t matter how many skeletons are hiding in the closet.

As satire this is incredibly sharp and it manages to be brilliantly entertaining despite covering some hefty subject matter. The script is well written and I felt the filmmakers used foreshadowing well to subtly hint at how events might unfold, delivering on every element it sets up in a satisfying way. Bardem, as mentioned, is terrific, but he’s ably assisted by a strong supporting cast with Almudena Amor as the intern Liliana particularly great, and I enjoyed the way the dynamic between Julio and her plays out. ‘The Good Boss’ is an effective corporate satire that finds the right balance between comedy and drama, with a week in the life of Javier Bardem’s unscrupulous boss proving as engrossing as advertised.

Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Fernando León de Aranoa

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

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt13066182/

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