The Boss Of It All ***1/2
Directed by Lars von Trier
Not Rated-Language, Brief Comic Sexuality
Lars von Trier is notorious for showing films of strong controversial nature-his "America" trilogy alone (which only have two films thus far) created quite a stir with their themes of racism and possible anti-American ideas. And now he's back with something more simpler, and something a bit more funner: an office comedy. Being a huge fan of the American version of "The Office," this is certainly up my ally, and it does have a complex plot of identity, as well as an awkward and brilliant third act that makes you leave the room with a smile on your face. This is the story of a company president named Ravn, who hires Kristoffer to act like the boss when the boss disappears. Ravn needs Kristoffer to pose as the boss to close a deal with an Icelandic businessman, but when he gets angry the meeting ends in the hallway where Kristoffer introduces himself as the company president to a group of employees. And now Ravn is in a pickle. Nobody knows that he is the real company president, and he has always posed as an employee because he does not have the gut to be the boss to the group of Six Seniors that he loves very dearly. And so Kristoffer, whose name becomes Svend E., poses as the head honcho-the Boss Of It All. He soon learns that Ravn has been sending emails to the Six, all as the boss of it all telling them different things-and Svend has to improvise and act accordingly. And then he finds out that Ravn is also using Svend to royally screw his employees in a deal to sell the company, but Kristoffer finds this out and turns the tables a bit.
At the start, von Trier offers a narration where he claims that this is a film that is just meant to be a good time and not have any reflection for the viewer after. But its hard to stop thinking about "The Boss Of It All" because it is so damn entertaining and fun to watch. von Trier uses a special camera where he does not have to worry about the framing of a shot because a computer picks a random camera shot to use. There is not camera motion except for new shots, except for brief interludes where von Trier speaks to the viewer. This eases the worry for the director (even though I may not agree with this choice), much like the character of Ravn is trying to ease the worry of being a boss. This parallel is pretty intelligent even if I do not agree or approve of the method used. He also uses a method similar to the Dogma films of the past-no lighting, no music, actual sound stage. Lastly I'll mention the third act which is a conference meeting, one that is as awkward as it is revealing as it is hilarious. It was similar to a scene on "The Office" and I felt just at home. There isn't much to not like in 'The Boss Of It All"-it is extremely enjoyable and a welcome relief from von Trier's normal heavy, pretentious, and only mildly enjoyable films. Trier is on my list of film makers that I do not like as people-along with Gus van Sant. But unlike van Sant, I could admit that Trier does have talent, and "The Boss Of It All" proves that it is talent over a wide variety of genres.