The Good Boss
The Good Boss stars Javier Bardem as Blanco, the titular boss of the Blancos Básculas scales factory. Blanco takes pride in his business, maintaining the pristine image of a family enterprise. But as economic troubles and interpersonal problems among his employees threaten Básculas’s chances at winning a prestigious prize, the façade begins to slip, and he is forced to meddle in the lives of his “family” to protect his company’s reputation.
It’s a story with a lot to say, covering topics such as institutional discrimination, class divides and the harmful nature of capitalism, in addition to the increasingly complex web of interpersonal drama that Blanco finds himself wading into. While not every point manages to quite stick the landing, the script more or less manages to work these various complex components into a coherent and gripping mechanism, striking a good balance between comedic chops, character pathos and cutting satire.
Most of the narrative takes place in the Blancos Básculas factory, and the cinematography works to effectively contrast the messiness of Blanco and his employees against the sterile corporate setting (and the extremely on-the-nose visual of mechanical scales), revealing the idea of the benevolent capitalist as being just that: an idea, an artifice, a fabrication.
Bardem is brilliant as the “protagonist” of the piece, selling both Blanco’s squeaky-clean image and the selfish core beneath it excellently, and representing his gradual descent into madness and desperation in a consistently engaging way. He also works well with the large cast of the corporate “family,” with the boss’s performative benevolent persona clashing with the ugly reality of the human experience as strained by the capitalist machine. Strong performances across the board expose the cracks in the businessman’s image and heighten the tension.
The Good Boss is a darkly funny and intelligently written piece, poking fun at the myth of benevolent capitalism while exposing the dangers of that myth with satirical bite and a playful, yet intense tone. It’s a film that tries for a lot, and while it doesn’t necessarily accomplish all it set out to, there’s more than enough here for a thoroughly fun and smart watch that is likely to stick with audiences for a while, particularly as corporate structures begin to reassert themselves in the wake of the pandemic
The Good Boss does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for The Good Boss here: