Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “The Boss of It All”

(IFC Films. 2007. 1 Disc. 100 minutes. Not Rated. Written and directed by Lars von Trier.) Jens Albinus, Peter Gantzler, Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Benedikt Erlingsson.

Director von Trier (Dogville, Manderlay, Breaking the Waves), something of an enfant terrible in Danish cinema, returns to his roots and breaks out his latest bag of tricks for this (very) low-key comedy. Borrowing from the Remington Steele plot basis, he cooks up a story of a company owner who invents a fictional president who’s never seen (and thus conveniently places the blame on him when things go wrong). When the owner wants to sell his company to an Icelandic concern who will deal only with the president, he has to hire a failed actor to play the part. There’s no action to speak of (unless you count the sex scene, slightly amusing)…the movie’s dialogue-driven, and unless you’re fluent in Danish and have some idea of what they find funny, you’ll be scratching your head most of the time. I kept getting the feeling the English subtitles weren’t really conveying the humor. Von Trier supplies the narration, opening the film by advising us it’s harmless – I guess so. Plus his other trick is dispensing with a cameraman altogether in favor of something he calls Automavision – choosing the best-possible fixed camera position for each scene, then letting a computer decide when to tilt, pan, or zoom. I don’t think it really made a difference, Lars. Extras include mockumentaries and featurettes…they won’t help you much.