The Good Boss
El Buen Patrón
Javier Bardem is a beleaguered Spanish factory boss in ruthless pursuit of winning an award for excellence in this waspish corporate comedy.
Fernando León de Aranoa
Fernando León de Aranoa, Jaume Roures
Javier Bardem, Manolo Solo, Almudena Amor
Spain 2021. 120min
With English subtitles
‘Hard Work, Balance, Loyalty’ are the values proudly inscribed on the walls of successful industrial scales company Basculas Blanco. Boss and community bigwig Blanco (Bardem) promotes himself as a father figure to his staff-as-family. However, just as his factory is shortlisted for a local business award, Blanco quickly turns abusive parent while having to firefight potential catastrophes – a sacked employee’s public protest, his right-hand man’s marital breakdown, his own misjudged fling with an intern. His devious, desperate schemes generate the film’s escalating, wickedly black humour, expertly calibrated by writer-director Fernando Léon de Aranoa (A Perfect Day, LFF 2015). Wonderful, too, to see Bardem centre stage again, embodying the toxic, entitled Blanco, whose mentality continues to make the modern corporate world so fertile a country for rich old men.
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