June Butler wins an award for excellence.

Julio Blanco (Javier Bardem) lives a life corralled with order – quantifiable, guaranteed and ensured. As the owner and CEO of a small business making industrial weighing scales, he insists that his employees are his children, their problems are his, and he is committed to finding solutions to any personal issues they may have. He states that no matter how trivial or minor the concern, he will obtain a resolution.    

Opening scenes of the film show Blanco meeting with his employees and advising them that there is an inspection committee about to visit the factory. The underlying implication is that Blanco wants his employees to show the factory at its best and hopes to win an excellence award. Given that Julio has allowed for every eventuality, he is confident that he will win the prize, thus ensuring a financial boost to his business. 

However, things do not progress as anticipated and at every turn, Blanco’s best laid plans start to unravel in the most unexpected of ways. It is one thing to fabricate an item that remains constant and discernible. The parameters of a weighing scale do not alter. They give the same measurements today as tomorrow. Blanco’s error of judgment is to expect people will behave in a similar fashion – he is undoubtedly the architect of his own misfortune, but a combination of stupidity, vanity and narcissism prevents him from seeing the truth. The noisy, pivoting, disastrous dilemmas relentlessly unfurl and take on a life of their own. Blanco’s efforts to rectify each separate situation are well-meaning but fail to remedy the catastrophes and he lurches from calamity to fiasco and back again. It is impossible to feel completely sorry for him even though his meddling and interfering ignites a metaphoric wildfire that is out of control but nonetheless, Julio does prompt some small level of pity with each unprompted mess he encounters. Blanco slowly starts to ramp up his annoyance and frustration until he reaches a point of no return. The results are utterly hilarious. It is like watching a (very) slow motion car-crash where nobody is really injured.  

The parallel irony of selling a product reliant on exact calibration and perfect balance versus the chaotically messy personal lives of his employees, is not lost on viewers. The Good Boss is a nod to the unexpected, the randomness of human interaction and the butterfly effect.   

Javier Bardem is the lynchpin of The Good Boss, without whom I very much doubt the film would have landed as well as it did. He is exceptional as Julio Blanco. Manolo Solo plays the role of Blanco’s right-hand man, Miralles, who is convinced his wife is having an affair. Almudena Amor is Liliana, the daughter of Blanco’s friends and business associates. Sonia Almarcha is Adela, Blanco’s wife. A calm and untroubled foil to Blanco’s mental anguish. The casting could not have been better. 

Funny, at times poignant, well-paced, and with perfect comic timing, The Good Boss is a must-see. 

The Good Boss is in cinemas from 15th July 2022.


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