Boss Of It All (The) AKA DirektÝren For Det Hele
R1 - America - Genius Products
Review written by and copyright: Gary Jukes (14th October 2007).
The Film

Ravn (Peter Gantzler) is the boss of a small software company, but his fellow employees don't know this. Whenever he was faced with making a tough decision, such as firing someone, Ravn claimed the decision was made by someone higher up, the so-called 'Boss of it all', a fictional character Ravn himself had created (and who only communicated with the office via e-mail) so he could remain well-liked by all the staff. However, when an Icelandic firm launches a takeover, Dane-hating company president Finnur (Thor Fridriksson) refuses to deal with Ravn and insists on meeting the head of the company - the fictional boss, Svend. Ravn then hires an unemployed actor, Kristoffer (Jens Albinus) to play the role, but he gets more than he bargained for when Kristoffer really starts to get into character and the staff at the company begin to like him more than Ravn.

"The Boss of it All" is a comedy from noted Danish director Lars von Trier. I have to admit, I had no idea what to expect from this film as my only previous exposure to von Trier was through "Riget". But all becomes clear when the director himself appears at the beginning of the film, camera reflected in the glass windows of the office block we are about the enter, and says in a deadpan voiceover: "It's a comedy, and harmless as such. No preaching or swaying of opinion." And "The Boss of it All" is a very funny film. Most of the humour comes at the expense of the character of Kristoffer, a self-important method actor who spends his time referencing the theories of his beloved theatrical creator Gambini. Sadly, these theories leave him ill-prepared for the reactions of the office staff, each of whom has been given a different impression of the boss by Ravn. One member of staff attacks him, one breaks down in tears every time he approaches her, one is ecstatic that they can now be married, and so on.

The film is shot in a documentary style, with static cameras and jump cuts. The reason for this style of shooting becomes clear when the credits roll and the director of photography is given as 'Automavision'. This is a new style of camerawork that basically allows a computer to determine the camera moves, which often leads to odd camera angles and framing - in some shots, you can only see the top of someone's head, or both characters appear at the extreme left of the frame, for example. But far from being distrating the style works perfectly for this film. The performances of the two leads are great, especially Albinus, and the supporting cast are all very natural in their roles which adds to the realism and the documentary 'feel'.

Video

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a little grainy in places but overall is quite good. There are optional English, English HoH and Spanish subtitles. The English subtitles are clear and easily readable, with no errors.

Audio

The Danish mono soundtrack is quite clear, with no noise. A dialogue heavy film such as this doesn't need a 5.1 (or even a surround) mix, the mono audio is fine.

Extras

First up we have The Actors (and the Journalists) of it All (22:42), a 'mockumentary' piece in which the actors poke fun at themselves and pretentious actors like 'Kristoffer' from the film in talking about their acting methods and preparation for the role. This is followed by another mockumentary piece called The Foreigners of it All (5:39), which is more of the same only featuring the foreign actors involved. Both are very funny and work as nice companion pieces to the film.

Of the more serious featurettes, we begin with The Making of The Boss of it All (4:53), a typical 'making of' piece that features clips of the film interspersed with interview footage of the director and actors. Next up is The Director of it All (6:18), in which the director talks about his decision to make the film and the shoot itself. Finally there is Automavision: The New Dogma (5:50), in which this new shooting technique is described in detail by the VFX supervisor and the director.

Rounding out the extras is a Theatrical Trailer (1:29).

Overall

The Film: B Video: B Audio: B Extras: B+ Overall: B

 


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