A capitalistic nightmare disguised as a comedy. Javier Bardem has long been a trusted leading man, from his Oscar-winning performance as the villainous hitman in “No Country for Old Men” to tentpole blockbusters like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Skyfall”. Knowing he’s there is a comfort. In Fernando Leòn de Aranoa’s workplace comedy/drama Bardem delivers one of his best performances of all time, demanding to be seen and heard.
Bardem is Blanco, the owner of an industrial scales manufacturing business awaiting a visit by a committee that could give his company an award for excellence, and he tries to resolve any problems that arise from his workers in enough time. We start out on Monday as the splash screen announces, and as the days go by, the tensions and the antics ramp up in severity.
Seeing Blanco manage his employees in his swarmy and manipulative way only makes you want to see what happens each day to deter him from winning the award. He’s a mix of the both the films antagonist and protagonist, his constant meddling into the personal lives of his employees only serves to create more problems for himself and the company. The attacks on the labor system and capitalistic corruption are not subtle at all, and it’s all the better for it.
The Spanish entry for best International feature at the 94th Academy Awards, you can see why there was such fan-fare, the talent behind the camera is just as robust, with Aranoa’s strong direction and photography by Pau Esteve Birba there is a wink and nod at the audience that is playfully and only adds to this films charm. You really feel steeped into this company, a hearty shout out to production designer César Macarrón for his immersive sets.
With its biting satire with hilarious execution, “The Good Boss” is more than worthy of your time, if only for Bardem’s performance alone.
4 out of 5