5-Word 365 #007 – The Boss Of It All

In mid-December I got drunk and thought it would be a good idea to watch a movie I haven’t seen before and review it, every day of 2012. These might not be as in-depth of some of my other posts, but if I make it three weeks it’ll be a damn miracle.

The Boss Of It All

I only get five words?

Lars von Trier has made an office comedy. Yeah, I thought it was just a rumour too. I saw the trailer on Lovefilm a few weeks ago and it was the oddness of the idea that really grabbed me, more than anything specific about the movie itself. At first glance it just seems bizarre. The man who made Dogville, and Breaking The Waves, and fucking Antichrist has also gone and made the Danish Office Space. Actually, that’s not strictly accurate. It’s not even slightly accurate. When the first shot of the movie is an exterior of a drably anonymous office building, with the reflection of the director on a camera crane visible in the window while he gives a narration (telling you that the film you’re about to watch does not bear any reflection on itself), you know this is not going to be like anything else.

Made back in 2006, The Boss Of It All is the story of a man named Ravn who started his own company, but just wanted to be one of the gang. To avoid having to be the boss, he invented one. The unnamed IT company has an absentee President who lives in the US and communicates with his workforce by emails (all presumably written by Ravn himself). When he decides to sell the company to a hilariously Denmark-hating Icelander named Finnur, played by Icelandic filmmaker Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Ravn is forced to produce the company President to sign the contracts. Enter Kristoffer, an out of work actor forced to improv his way through this maze of corporate and interpersonal conflicts, not to mention the gibberish of IT terminology.

This being von Trier, there is of course a lot more to it than that. None of these characters seem particularly well-adjusted, from the head of HR who takes it upon herself to be rogered over the (handily adjustable) desk in order to “cure” the president’s supposed homosexuality, to the woman who screams in fright every time the printer goes off and is known as Poor Mette ever since her husband hanged himself after being let go by Ravn. The most sensible character is actually Kristoffer’s ex-wife, now Finnur’s lawyer handling the purchase of the company, who fans of the original The Killing should recognise even without her trademark lovely jumper.

I must work in the wrong type of office.

Von Trier shot this film using a process called Automavision. This involves shooting with a locked-off camera whose angle, framing and filters are chosen randomly by a computer program. The sound is recorded the same way and there is no post-production mix done to either. To me, this gives the flick an almost documentary feel; the shots are never centred on the action; there are frequent jump cuts and dropped sound. It will not be to everyone’s taste. But then von Trier wouldn’t want it any other way.

There were rumours about a year ago about a remake to be directed by Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz. Oddly for this trend of Americanisation, this would seem to be a good fit of material to filmmaker. There hasn’t been any more news since last February, as far as I can find, so I guess this won’t be happening any time soon.

This would be a good entry-level movie for those new to von Trier, though you might want to work your way up to Antichrist slowly. Trust me.

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

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