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The Boss of It All
The Boss of It All
Actors: Jean-Marc Barr, Sofie Grbl, Anders Hove, Fridrik Thr Fridriksson, Jens Albinus
Director: Lars von Trier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
NR     2007     1hr 36min

The owner of an IT firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started his firm he invented a nonexistent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on nego...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jean-Marc Barr, Sofie Grbl, Anders Hove, Fridrik Thr Fridriksson, Jens Albinus
Director: Lars von Trier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Studio: Ifc
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 09/18/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Deliberately Amateurish, but Funny All the Same.
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 09/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Danish director Lars von Trier gets experimental again in "The Boss of It All", but this time he aims to make us laugh. This corporate comedy sends up actors, artistic pretensions, and the venerable tradition of passing the buck. Mr. Ravn (Peter Gantzler) founded a successful technology company but was loath to take on the role of President. So he invented a fictional company president who is always abroad, concealing his true role even from the company's "six seniors", its first and most valuable employees. Now Ravn needs to close a deal with an Icelandic businessman who insists on dealing with the President. So Ravn hires Kristoffer (Jens Albinus), an out-or work actor of little talent and many pretensions, to be the President for a week.

This absurd set-up creates ample opportunity for hilarity: The staff is easily convinced that Kristoffer is President despite his ignorance and inarticulate prattle. He must negotiate conversations with the six seniors, who have each been given a different impression of him by Gavn, without letting on that he doesn't know them. He gradually comes to realize that Gavn created the President to take the blame for his unpopular decisions, while Gavn took credit for more generous policies. The men are more alike than Kristoffer would like to think, as they both crave attention and acceptance. "The Boss of It All" is insightful, comical, and almost believable.

The film doesn't look good, though. Lars von Trier employed Automavision to frame all the shots. In other words, he let a computer decide where to put the camera. "Decide" might not be the best word. The computer selects randomly. A silly exercise in my view -and a false one, since the director set the computer's parameters (to avoid filming a blank wall or ceiling), and the actors can see the camera, so they maneuver to get into frame. Lars von Trier does things like this to amuse himself. In this case, the framing looks amateurish but not unusual, so I don't see a point to it except to relieve von Trier of the burden of framing his own shots. I was more struck by the problems with color temperature, which are distracting and ugly. In Danish with subtitles.

The DVD (IFC 2007): Bonus features are a theatrical trailer, 2 mockumentaries, and 3 featurettes. In "The Actors (and the Journalist) of It All" (22 min) the cast gives mock interviews to a "journalist". Occasionally funny, but much too long. In Danish with subtitles. "The Foreigners of It All" (6 min) are mock interviews with the 3 actors who played the American employee and the Icelanders. "The Making of the Boss of It All" (5 min) interviews Lars von Trier. In "The Director of It All" (6 min), von Trier talks about his inspiration for the scape goat idea. "Automavision: The New Dogma" (6 min) interviews von Trier and Peter Hjorth about Automavision. Bonus features are in English except where otherwise noted. Subtitles are available for the film in English, English SDH, and Spanish."
The Office on acid - a hilarious dark comedy about arbitrary
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 09/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Danish auteur Lars von Trier turns his acidic wit to office politics, with the overall message that while the true boss of it all that really runs the show is money, capitalism American style, what most of us really want is not the truth but a convenient and self-serving fiction. Along the way von Trier dishes up a scenario that is endlessly inventive and hilarious -- and that in its ruthless look at the stupidity of bureaucracy harks back to his underseen television miniseries Riget/Kingdom. As in that series, he includes himself directly here as a narrator to comment on his approach and on his expectations from the audience -- reminding us both directly and indirectly that his aim is not to please or to edify but to exploit and manipulate and offend at the same time as he entertains. This is a lighter, and less ambitious, project than anything he has done for a while, but it is no less intriguing for that.

As in many of his films, where he deliberately imposes upon himself a specific constraint (as in his Dogme film "The Idiots" or as in "Dogville" and "Manderlay" where he gets rid of the sets, or as he imposes upon his teacher Jorgen Leth in "The Five Obstructions), he set up a very specific constraint upon himself in the making of this film that defines in large part its style and look. He made use of a technology dubbed "Automavision" -- a camera whose angle and exposure are set randomly by computer -- and the effect is to add a jumpy and kinetic quality to the film that goes against the standard Hollywood style continuity editing and includes jump cuts and non-matching lighting, etc. Somehow it works, in part because of the strength of the acting and the script, but in part because the awkwardness of the style seems to match the story perfectly. In fact, it works more than just as an aesthetic complement to the story: it ties directly to the theme of the story in so far as "Automavision" functions as a kind of "boss of it all" -- that can be blamed for the apparent arbitrariness of some of the editing and coloring choices. The true "boss of it all" that von Trier suggests really runs everything is in fact the not-entirely arbitrary but still haphazard fluctuation of the market -- and "Automavision" works as a nice metaphor for that.

This is not, strictly speaking, a masterpiece and will certainly be regarded as one of Lars von Trier's lesser works -- I think it can be said that all of his works are flawed in some way, but this seems to be part of a deliberate effort on his part to introduce flaws. His work as a whole still remains some of the most inventive and compelling in recent cinema -- and for that reason alone, combined with the fact that it is, given an allowance for a certain kind of humor, one of the funniest films to appear so far this year, it is definitely worth watching."
Good for a laugh
Andreas Faust | Tasmanian Autonomous Zone | 01/20/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Second film I've seen by Lars von Trier, the other being 'Dogville' (see my review), so I was interested to see what his take on comedy would be. From the cover I expected something resembling a Danish version of Ricky Gervais' 'The Office', and in some ways it is - 'cringe humour' is an accurate description.

The plot revolves around an out of work actor who is hired to impersonate the (non-existent) boss of an IT firm by Ravn, the firm's real owner. The actor is well and truly thrown in the deep end, and watching him succumb to Ravn's machinations provides most of the laughter.

Ravn used 'the boss' as a scapegoat over the years, whenever he made a decision his empoyees didn't like. One woman's husband hanged himself after 'the boss' made him redundant. Worse, Ravn has told each staff member different things about him.

The ending, without giving it away, is a very funny send up of actors and the acting profession.

Unlike some viewers I was fine with von Trier's use of automavision to film this, the only thing that did annoy me being the directors 'ironic' interjections at several points in the movie. I thought von Trier would have been above the use of trendy contrived irony, but apparently not."