Tag Archives: independent

Review: The Boss of It All

The Boss of It AllI like Lars von Trier‘s new direction. The movie is a closer to The Idiots than Dogville, and I liked The Idiots a lot.

The premise of the movie is also close to my heart: the IT industry and how a potential acquisition can sour relations. The plot is straight-forward:

The owner of an IT company wishes to sell it. But, for years, he has pretended that the real boss lives in America and communicates with the staff only by e-mail. That way, all the unpopular decisions can be attributed to the absentee manager, while all the popular ones to him directly.

But now, the prospective buyer insists on meeting the big boss in person. In a panic, the owner hires a failed, over-intellectualizing actor to portray him, and the actor proceeds to improvise all his lines, to the consternation of both the buyer and the company staff, who finally get to meet their ghostly boss.

I’ve never seen any of the actors before, with one notable difference – Iben Hjejle. The acting is OK, granted you have Dogme sensibilities. I especially loved the two guys from “Iceland” who were a perfect match of ice and fire. Excellent performance from the lead character as well.

A few observations that really question Lars’s “growth” since the Dogme days. First, the narration attracts attention to the director, while Dogme postulated that the director should remain uncredited. Second, I couldn’t escape the feeling that some of the random compositions – sometime cutting faces in half – were done on purpose, to mock this style of “indie” shooting.

Lars never claimed he would stick to Dogme. In fact, this movie “patented” a new mathematical formula and a process he called Automavision. Here’s what he means by that:

This entails choosing the best possible fixed camera position and then allowing a computer to choose when to tilt, pan or zoom. “For a long time, my films have been handheld,” he explains. “That has to do with the fact that I am a control freak. With Automavision, the technique was that I would frame the picture first and then push a button on the computer. I was not in control – the computer was in control.”

I think THAT explains the erratic camera motions. Anyway, if you have a chance to see the movie, go and check it out, especially if you’re IT!