Monday, July 16, 2007


The Boss Of It All (Lars Von Trier, 2007)

I really love a person who's never afraid to mess with convention nor an audience's expectations - and even better with a hearty dose of mischief thrown in for good measure.

The first few frames of The Boss Of It All feature Lars Von Trier narrating a theatrical-style introduction in his now distinctive Danish tones seen but as a reflection in the office building where the drama is soon to take place; and immediately you just know he's going to take you somewhere special. 'Theatrical' is really the key word here: this movie is a light almost Shakespearean comedy, full of subtlety and intrigue and clever language, and I imagine much is probably missed (especially by us non-Scandinavians).

The protagonist, an out-of-work thespian, is drafted in to act out the role of the top boss of a company who's never previously been seen by the staff; and things get predictably complicated as events unfold and relationships develop. It all plays out like a weird hybrid of Ricky Gervais's The Office and Extras, but fewer chuckles and more meaningful. At times it also reminded me of Catherine Breillat's brilliant underrated Sex Is Comedy - in particular for its intricate drama-referencing humour and message.

One of LVT's trademarks is often the camera-work and the physiology of the sets he employs - here I learned that he utilised odd computer-generated random camera shots which often miss the subject, and they act as an effective metaphor for the unpredictable nature of the storyline.


flora_mundi said...

can't wait until this one makes it over here. i find that even von trier's lesser efforts are at least interesting to watch, if only to see the powerful reactions they tend to get from the audience.

The Shivering Manatee said...

I had heard a while back about this camera-angles-randomly- generated-by-computer conceit.I'm looking forward to seeing the results. I was quite surprised to find myself loving the film The Five Obstructions. Von Trier came across as an arse, but made a brilliant and fascinating film.

Johan said...

It's also funny to see how Trier uses characters from other countries to go after his own people (in The Kingdom, it was the Swedish doctor). Very un-patriotic and wholly commendable!