September 2nd, 2022
MOVIE: THE GOOD BOSS
STARRING: JAVIER BARDEM, MANOLO SOLO, ALMUDENA AMOR, SONIA ALMARCHA
DIRECTED BY: FERNANDO LEON DE ARANOA
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The perfect example of an actor going beyond the standard of their profession is when the roles and performances mix authenticity and reach new heights. Javier Bardem may have hit that level a long time ago- maybe in No Country For Old Men but it also could have been around The Counselor for me- but he certainly displays an achievement of reaching new heights in The Good Boss. He’s recognizable- this time playing a man with glasses and a luscious head of white hair- but the personality, the character that he embodies is not Javier Bardem at all, in fact, it’s amazing to see him in this light. It’s the story about a long and painful week for the boss of a weight and scale company in Spain. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Bardem’s character goes from putting out one fire to the next, but not without creating his own mess, and the comedy of it all is seeing how it will all end. The Good Boss is both wildly funny, a bit shocking, and another superb performance from the unmistakable Javier Bardem.
Bardem’s character is Blanco, the CEO and name for Blanco Scales, running what he calls, “a family organization”. The build up is an upcoming inspection for the company, which could lead to another prestigious award. The movie starts with him preaching family values, how at his company all of his employees are like his children, only now they are saying goodbye to the recent class of interns, and obviously an upset female intern had a much closer relationship with Blanco than what should be tolerated. Along with that, they have recently fired a floor manager Jose (Oscar de la Fuente) who is hell bent on turning his release into a company problem, protesting outside, and shouting into a bullhorn about how much of a terrible boss he is. And that’s not all, as Blanco’s right hand man Miralles (Manolo Solo) is having his own marital issues, where his wife is sleeping with another employee Khaled (Tarik Rmili), and this problem hurts his employees, which in turn hurts his company. Nothing can go wrong and for Blanco he is all about being the boss that goes above and beyond for his companies success.
The other issue that sparks midway through is that Blanco catches the eye of new intern Liliana (Almudena Amor), and along with his efforts to help his other employees, he steps into his own mess involving himself with her. His wife (Sonia Almarcha) is none the wiser but his worlds are constantly colliding, as the pressure continues to build, waiting for an explosion to occur. There are reveals about the connection of characters and various moving parts that make everything a constantly evolving drama of possibilities. The screenplay, which is also written by Fernando Leon de Aranoa does an excellent job of pacing, while giving us half details to keep us on the same page as Blanco. His journey is also the viewers, which can be frustrating, put you in the same shoes as him, but also show the desperation involved with someone in power.
It may come off as a bit heavy handed for some, but what I loved about The Good Boss was how it’s not just a dissection of a character, but a focus on how trivial things matter to people. We constantly see in the cinematography from Pau Esteve Birba are long lingering shots on Blanco’s massive collection of awards. One begins to wonder why another piece of hardware is so important to him, how he could put other lives in his crossfire simply for more success. It’s within that imagery and the strong directing from Fernando Leon de Aranoa that captures a multitude of conflicts. The question will be for many if Blanco is a monster, a charlatan, or just a man with good intentions for the people he employs. I have my answer but it comes with seeing the movie.
What The Good Boss leaves you with is an excellent film, with a cringy message, but an entertaining example of a dark comedy. It also delivers another layer to the always evolving career of Javier Bardem. He’s electric as Blanco, a fully developed, and tangible character that audiences will relate with, loathe, or all of the above. His constant chameleon style is only for the benefit of anyone who can appreciate truly great acting. The Good Boss is all about that sneaky and mysterious facade that a person can put on- and nobody is greater at that then Javier Bardem. He’s just that good.
THE GOOD BOSS IS CURRENTLY PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND EXPANDS TO MORE FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2022
Written by: Leo Brady