Published Jun 22, 2012Distinguishing itself through a bold use of colour, manic tonality and hyper-exaggerated performances, Jaime Escallon-Buraglia's Spanish-language Canadian, Columbian and Argentinean co-production, The Boss, takes the black comedy route to satirizing corporate dynamics. It's the sort of gauche exercise in abrasive excess and theatrical melodrama that superficially channels Almodóvar, only without the deliberate storyboard aesthetic and narrative complexity to suggest the outcome was intentional.
What is intentional are the political implications of having miserable boss Ricardo Osorio (Carlos Hurtado) take out his personal frustrations and sense of being emasculated on his many underlings at the Rioplatense jam company. At home, he's saddled with a newborn and tedious wife (Marcela Benjumea), while at work he deals with the tedium of bureaucracy and babysitting, which leads him to start porking his wife's best friend, Angela (Katherine Porto).
Fortunately, Escallon-Buraglia isn't interested in creating an identifiable or even likable character. The irreverent and acerbic dark comedy, which involves kidnappings, physical violence and an abundance of bodily fluids, ultimately criticizes the blasé vacuum of entitlement and self-loathing attributed to those in arbitrary positions of power. Whether firing a staff member for professing his love to a colleague or cheating on his wife, rather explicitly, with the first woman willing and able, his decisions lack all self-awareness and consideration for others.
His presentation and the overall comic hyperbole imply that the corporate ideology is implicitly dehumanizing, which is why Osorio's decision to destroy the company seems almost expected. Beneath his outward vulgarity is an idealist looking to escape his moderately self-imposed prison. Adversely, this occasionally amusing office comedy works as an admonitory for dismissing the needs and feelings of others when wrapped up in your own crisis, given the compounding consequences that propel the film into its overblown climax.
Even though the end product is rather messy, never really finding a coherent sense of self amidst the exaggerated facial expressions and awkward set-ups, the constant energy and overall oddball sensibility do compel in their own right. With experience, Escallon-Buraglia could easily master the tone and didactic he's going for. (Lumanity)