Friday, August 31, 2007

The Boss of It All (2006, Lars Von Trier)

In a way, this feels of a piece with Von Trier's more polemic works, particularly the way it holds the greedy capitalists up to scorn. This time around, Von Trier goes about this by making the big-business character a coward who would rather be loved by his coworkers than fess up to the unpopular decisions he makes, and eventually the character he exploits- an actor he hires to play the feared "boss of it all"- ends up taking him down by giving him a big, bitter spoonful of his own medicine. But this is also a film about ceding control, not only by the characters in the film, but also by Von Trier himself, who famously used a computer program called Automovision, designed to control camera framing, editing, and sound mixing randomly. Surprisingly, it's not as distracting as I'd feared, especially not the visual style, which merely feels skewed and sort of quirky (the non-matching soundtracks did get jarring at times). Mostly though, it's just funny, and if you'd told me a year or so ago that the biggest impression I'd take from an upcoming Von Trier film was that it was funny, I would have looked at you funny. But there you go. Rating: 7 out of 10.

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